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Cooper Tire & Rubber Tire Company, Receipt of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Topics:  NHTSA, Cooper Tires

Cooper Tire & Rubber Tire Company, Receipt of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance

Claude H. Harris (Federal Register)
May 17, 2011


[Federal Register Volume 76, Number 95 (Tuesday, May 17, 2011)]
[Notices]
[Pages 28502-28503]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2011-11991]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

[Docket No. NHTSA-2011-0054; Notice 1]


Cooper Tire & Rubber Tire Company, Receipt of Petition for 
Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance

    Cooper Tire & Rubber Tire Company, (Cooper),\1\ has determined that 
approximately 6,964 passenger car replacement tires manufactured 
between January 23, 2011 and March 26, 2011, do not fully comply with 
paragraph S5.5(f) of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 
139, New Pneumatic Radial Tires for Light Vehicles. Cooper has filed an 
appropriate report pursuant to 49 CFR part 573, Defect and 
Noncompliance Responsibility and Reports (dated March 31, 2011).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ Cooper Tire & Rubber Tire Company (Cooper) is a replacement 
equipment manufacturer incorporated in the state of Delaware.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 30118(d) and 30120(h) (see implementing rule 
at 49 CFR part 556), Cooper has petitioned for an exemption from the 
notification and remedy requirements of 49 U.S.C. chapter 301 on the 
basis that this noncompliance is inconsequential to motor vehicle 
safety.
    This notice of receipt of Cooper's petition is published under 49 
U.S.C. 30118 and 30120 and does not represent any agency decision or 
other exercise of judgment concerning the merits of the petition.
    Affected are approximately 6,964 size LT285/75R16 Cooper brand 
Discoverer S/T MAXX model passenger car replacement tires manufactured 
between January 23, 2011 and March 26, 2011, at Cooper's plant located 
in Texarkana, Arkansas.
    NHTSA notes that the statutory provisions (49 U.S.C. 30118(d) and 
30120(h)) that permit manufacturers to file petitions for a 
determination of inconsequentiality allow NHTSA to exempt manufacturers 
only from the duties found in sections 30118 and 30120, respectively, 
to notify owners, purchasers, and dealers of a defect or noncompliance 
and to remedy the defect or noncompliance. Therefore, these provisions 
only apply to the 6,964 \2\ tires that Cooper no longer

[[Page 28503]]

controlled at the time that it determined that a noncompliance existed 
in the subject tires.
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    \2\ Cooper's petition, which was filed under 49 CFR Part 556, 
requests an agency decision to exempt Cooper as a replacement 
equipment manufacturer from the notification and recall 
responsibilities of 49 CFR part 573 for 6,964 of the affected tires. 
However, the agency cannot relieve tire distributors and dealers of 
the prohibitions on the sale, offer for sale, introduction or 
delivery for introduction into interstate commerce of the 
noncompliant tires under their control after Cooper notified them 
that the subject noncompliance existed. Those tires must be brought 
into conformance, exported, or destroyed.
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    Paragraph S5.5(f) of FMVSS No. 139 require in pertinent part:

    S5.5 Tire markings. Except as specified in paragraphs (a) 
through (i) of S5.5, each tire must be marked on each sidewall with 
the information specified in S5.5(a) through (d) and on one sidewall 
with the information specified in S5.5(e) through (i) according to 
the phase-in schedule specified in S7 of this standard. The markings 
must be placed between the maximum section width and the bead on at 
least one sidewall, unless the maximum section width of the tire is 
located in an area that is not more than one-fourth of the distance 
from the bead to the shoulder of the tire. If the maximum section 
width falls within that area, those markings must appear between the 
bead and a point one-half the distance from the bead to the shoulder 
of the tire, on at least one sidewall. The markings must be in 
letters and numerals not less than 0.078 inches high and raised 
above or sunk below the tire surface not less than 0.015 inches * * 
*
    (f) The actual number of plies in the sidewall, and the actual 
number of plies in the tread area, if different * * *

    Cooper explains that the noncompliance is that, due to a mold 
labeling error, the sidewall marking on the reference side of the tires 
incorrectly describes the actual number of plies in the tread area of 
the tires as required by paragraph S5.5(f). Specifically, the tires in 
question were inadvertently manufactured with ``TREAD 1 PLY NYLON + 2 
PLY STEEL + 3 PLY POLYESTER; SIDEWALL 3 PLY POLYESTER.'' The labeling 
should have been ``TREAD 2 PLY NYLON + 2 PLY STEEL + 3 PLY POLYESTER; 
SIDEWALL 3 PLY POLYESTER.''
    Cooper also explains that while the non-compliant tires are 
mislabeled, the tires do in fact have 2 Nylon tread plies and meet or 
exceed all other applicable Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards.
    Cooper reported that this noncompliance was discovered during a 
review of the specified stamping requirements and visual inspection of 
tire stamping.
    Cooper argues that this noncompliance is inconsequential to motor 
vehicle safety because the noncompliant sidewall marking does not 
create an unsafe condition and all other labeling requirements have 
been met.
    Cooper points out that NHTSA has previously granted similar 
petitions for non-compliances in sidewall marking.
    In summation, Cooper believes that the described noncompliance of 
its tires to meet the requirements of FMVSS No. 139 is inconsequential 
to motor vehicle safety, and that its petition, to exempt from 
providing recall notification of noncompliance as required by 49 U.S.C. 
30118 and remedying the recall noncompliance as required by 49 U.S.C. 
30120 should be granted.
    Interested persons are invited to submit written data, views, and 
arguments on this petition. Comments must refer to the docket and 
notice number cited at the beginning of this notice and be submitted by 
any of the following methods:
    a. By mail addressed to: U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket 
Operations, M-30, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New 
Jersey Avenue, SE., Washington, DC 20590.
    b. By hand delivery to U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket 
Operations, M-30, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New 
Jersey Avenue, SE., Washington, DC 20590. The Docket Section is open on 
weekdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. except Federal Holidays.
    c. Electronically: by logging onto the Federal Docket Management 
System (FDMS) Web site at http://www.regulations.gov/. Follow the 
online instructions for submitting comments. Comments may also be faxed 
to 1-202-493-2251.
    Comments must be written in the English language, and be no greater 
than 15 pages in length, although there is no limit to the length of 
necessary attachments to the comments. If comments are submitted in 
hard copy form, please ensure that two copies are provided. If you wish 
to receive confirmation that your comments were received, please 
enclose a stamped, self-addressed postcard with the comments. Note that 
all comments received will be posted without change to http://www.regulations.gov, including any personal information provided.
    Documents submitted to a docket may be viewed by anyone at the 
address and times given above. The documents may also be viewed on the 
Internet at http://www.regulations.gov by following the online 
instructions for accessing the dockets. DOT's complete Privacy Act 
Statement is available for review in the Federal Register published on 
April 11, 2000, (65 FR 19477-78).
    The petition, supporting materials, and all comments received 
before the close of business on the closing date indicated below will 
be filed and will be considered. All comments and supporting materials 
received after the closing date will also be filed and will be 
considered to the extent possible. When the petition is granted or 
denied, notice of the decision will be published in the Federal 
Register pursuant to the authority indicated below.
    Comment closing date: June 16, 2011.

    Authority: 49 U.S.C. 30118, 30120: Delegations of authority at 
CFR 1.50 and 501.8.

    Issued on: May 11, 2011.
Claude H. Harris,
Acting Associate Administrator for Enforcement.
[FR Doc. 2011-11991 Filed 5-16-11; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-59-P

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