Tireco, Inc., Ruling on Petition for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance
Tireco, Inc., Ruling on Petition for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance
Gregory K. Rea
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
25 August 2016
[Federal Register Volume 81, Number 165 (Thursday, August 25, 2016)]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2016-20330]
DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
[Docket No. NHTSA-2015-0028; Notice 2]
Tireco, Inc., Ruling on Petition for Decision of Inconsequential
AGENCY: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA),
Department of Transportation (DOT).
ACTION: Ruling on petition.
SUMMARY: Tireco, Inc. (Tireco) determined that certain Milestar brand
medium truck tires do not comply with paragraph S6.5(j), and in some
cases also paragraph S6.5(d), of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard
(FMVSS) No. 119, New Pneumatic Tires for Vehicles with a GVWR of More
Than 4,536 Kilograms (10,000 Pounds) and Motorcycles. Tireco filed a
report dated February 5, 2015, pursuant to 49 CFR part 573, Defect and
Noncompliance Responsibility and Reports. Tireco then petitioned NHTSA
under 49 CFR part 556 for a decision that the subject noncompliance is
inconsequential to motor vehicle safety. NHTSA has decided to deny
Tireco's petition in part and grant it in part.
ADDRESSES: For further information on this decision contact Abraham
Office of Vehicle Safety Compliance, the National Highway Traffic
Safety Administration (NHTSA), telephone (202) 366-5310, facsimile
I. Overview: Pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 30118(d) and 30120(h) (see
implementing rule at 49 CFR part 556), Tireco submitted a petition 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. In a letter dated May 7, 2015, Tireco also
submitted a supplement to its petition.
Notice of receipt of the Tireco's petition was published by NHTSA
in the Federal Register on June 24, 2015 (80 FR 36406) with a 30-day
public comment period. No comments were received. To view the petition
and all supporting documents log onto the Federal Docket Management
System (FDMS) Web site at: http://www.regulations.gov/. Then follow the
online search instructions to locate docket number ``NHTSA-2015-0028.''
II. Replacement Tires Involved: Affected are approximately 31,316
Milestar brand medium truck tires that were imported by Tireco and
manufactured by Shandong Wanda Boto Tyre Co., LTD. in China between
June 3, 2013 and January 25, 2015. Refer to Tireco's 49 CFR part 573
report in docket NHTSA-2015-0028 for detailed descriptions of the
III. Noncompliance: Tireco states that the subject tires do not
comply with paragraph S6.5(j) of FMVSS No. 119 because the affected
tires are either not marked with the tire's load range letter, or
incorrectly marked with the letter ``J'' instead of the letter ``L'' to
designate the tire's load range. In addition, some of the affected
tires also do not comply with paragraph S6.5(d) of FMVSS No. 119
because, the maximum load ratings and pressures specified on the
sidewalls for both single and dual applications are both identified as
``DUAL.'' The first rating should have been identified as ``SINGLE.''
IV. Rule Text: Paragraph S6.5 of FMVSS No. 119 requires in
S6.5 Tire markings. Except as specified in this paragraph, each
tire shall be marked on each sidewall with the information specified
in paragraphs (a) through (j) of this section. . . .
(d) The maximum load rating and corresponding inflation pressure
of the tire, shown as follows:
(Mark on tires rated for single and dual load): Max load single
_kg (_lb) at _kPa (_psi) cold. Max load dual _kg (_lb) at _kPa
(Mark on tires rated only for single load): Max load _kg (_lb)
at _kPa (_psi) cold. . . .
(j) The letter designating the tire load range.
V. Summary of Tireco's Analyses: Tireco believes that the absence
of the load range marking on some of the subject tires causes little or
no risk of overloading of the tires by an end-user because the tires
are marked with the correct number of plies, the correct load index and
the correct maximum load values, which Tireco believes provide
equivalent information. Tireco also states that it has found one
previous inconsequential noncompliance petition (see 79 FR 78562;
December 30, 2014) in which the agency addressed the issue of a missing
load range marking and believes that the agency should apply the same
rationale in the case of its petition.
In the case of the MILESTAR BS628 315/80R22.5 L/20 tires marked
with the incorrect load range letter ``J,'' Tireco believes there is no
safety consequence since the tires actually were designed and
manufactured to be stronger than load range ``J'' tires by constructing
them with two extra plies than typical load range ``J'' tires would
have. Thus, there is no risk that the incorrect marking would lead to
overloading by an end-user. Moreover, the paper label attached to each
of the tires, which must remain attached until the time of sale,
contains the correct load range information, so Tireco believes there
is little, if any, possibility that a purchaser will be misled.
In the case of the MILESTAR BS623 225/70R19.5 G/14 tires that can
be used in single or dual configuration, Tireco states the following:
1. Tireco believes the fact that both of the ratings were labeled
as applicable to ``DUAL'' applications cannot realistically create a
safety problem. Particularly since the tires are correctly marked with
the correct maximum load capacity and inflation pressure in accordance
with The Tire and Rim Association 2014 Year Book. Tireco also believes
that any prospective purchaser of these tires, any operator of a truck
equipped with these tires, and any tire retailer would immediately
recognize that the first rating, ``1800Kg (3970LBS) AT 760 KPa (110
PSI) COLD,'' applies to the ``single'' configuration, and the second
rating, ``1700Kg (3750LBS) AT 760 kPa (110 PSI) COLD,'' applies to the
``dual'' configuration. Such persons are fully aware that for all
medium truck tires designed to be used in both single and dual
configurations, the maximum load and corresponding pressure applicable
to the single configuration is listed above the information applicable
to the dual configuration. Such persons also would be aware that there
could be no valid reason to have two different maximum loads for the
dual configuration, and thus would immediately understand that the
first load rating was meant to apply when the tire was utilized in a
single configuration. Moreover, since the applicable inflation pressure
is the same for both configurations, there is no risk that the
mismarking would cause an operator to improperly inflate any of the
2. Tireco states that when a tire is designed for use in both
single and dual configurations, FMVSS No. 119 requires that compliance
testing be conducted based on the higher, more punishing tire load.
Accordingly, Tireco believes that the tires will perform safely in both
configurations. Tireco also believes that this principle was relied
upon in grants of two similar petitions filed by Michelin North
America, Inc. (See 71 FR 77092; December 22, 2006) and (69 FR 62512;
October 26, 2004).
In addition, Tireco stated its belief that all of the tires covered
by this petition meet or exceed the performance requirements of FMVSS
No. 119, as well as the other labeling requirements of the standard.
Tireco is not aware of any crashes, injuries, customer complaints,
or field reports associated with the subject mislabelings.
Tireco stated that, as soon as they became aware of the
noncompliance, it immediately isolated the noncompliant inventory in
Tireco's warehouses to prevent any additional sales. Tireco will bring
all of the noncompliant tires into full compliance with the
requirements of FMVSS No. 119, or else the tires will be scrapped.
Tireco also stated that the fabricating manufacturer has corrected the
molds at the manufacturing plant, such that no additional tires will be
manufactured with the noncompliance.
In summation, Tireco believes that the described noncompliance of
the subject tires is inconsequential to motor vehicle safety, and that
its petition should be granted to exempt Tireco from providing recall
notification of noncompliance as required by 49 U.S.C. 30118 and from
remedying the recall noncompliance as required by 49 U.S.C. 30120.
NHTSA Analysis: The purpose for the load range marking letter
required by FMVSS No. 119 S6.5(j) is to inform the tire purchaser and
end user about the
load carrying capabilities of the tire. In the case of the subject
tires, Tireco states that the information the load range letter is
meant to convey is contained on the tire because the tire is labeled
with correct maximum load values, correct load index, and correct ply
rating. For the MILESTAR brand tires: BS628 295/80R22.5, BS623 245/
70R19.5, BD733 245/70R19.5, BA902 10.00R20, BD733 225/70R19.5, BS623
235/75R17.5, BS628 315/80R22.5, BS625 265/70R19.5, and BS623 215/
75R17.5, Tireco states that the maximum load and maximum permissible
inflation pressure markings conform with The Tire and Rim Association
(TRA) and The European Tyre and Rim Technical Organisation (ETRTO)
NHTSA agrees that the missing load range letter is inconsequential
to motor vehicle safety in this case because the information intended
to be conveyed by the missing load range letter is contained in other
markings on the tires, specifically: the maximum load and maximum
permissible inflation pressure marked on the sidewall of the subject
tires correctly correlates to the maximum loads and pressure listed by
either the TRA or ETRTO yearbooks.
Tireco also submitted a supplemental letter for a group of tires
branded MILESTAR BS628 315/80R22.5 L/20 and describes the noncompliance
as not missing the tire load range letter, but rather having an
incorrect load range letter marked onto the tire sidewall. This group
of tires was marked with the load range letter ``J'', while these tires
should have been marked with the load range letter ``L''.
NHTSA also agrees with Tireco that the load range marking
noncompliance in the subject tires is inconsequential to motor vehicle
safety. In this case if a consumer followed the load range ``J''
designation as marked, they would interpret the labeled recommended
load carrying capacity to be lower than the actual load carrying
capacity. Since the labeled tire load range ``J'' is lower than the
actual load range of the tire as manufactured, Tireco understated the
load carrying capability of the tire. This Tireco tire, in effect, has
more load carrying capability than the marking load range ``J''
Tireco also identified an additional noncompliance affecting only
the MILESTAR BS623 225/70R19.5 G/14 tires. This tire, in addition to
the load range letter missing, was marked with the word ``DUAL''
instead of the word ``SINGLE'' followed by its maximum load rating
marking of ``1800 Kg (3970 LBS) AT 760 kPa (110 PSI) COLD'', and Tireco
contends that this marking does not create a safety problem. NHTSA
disagrees for the following reasons:
1. The purpose of the word ``SINGLE'' marked on a tire, preceding
the maximum load rating, is to ensure that purchasers and end users
understand that the loads and pressures following the word ``SINGLE''
correspond to single tire configuration loading. The same serves for
the word ``DUAL''. Marking the word ``DUAL'' in lieu of the word
``SINGLE'' creates a situation in which the driver or end user of the
vehicle may overload the tires. Specifically, the subject tires are
incorrectly marked, ``MAX LOAD DUAL 1800 Kg (3970 LBS) AT 760 KPa (110
PSI) COLD'' instead of ``MAX LOAD SINGLE 1800 Kg (3970 LBS) AT 760 KPa
(110 PSI) COLD.'' This creates a scenario where a purchaser or end user
could believe it is appropriate to load the tires in a dual
configuration at the higher of the two marked dual loads. In this case,
the correct dual load of the subject tires is ``MAX LOAD DUAL 1700 Kg
(3750 LBS) AT 760 Kpa (110 PSI) COLD'' and the incorrect marking is
``MAX LOAD DUAL 1800 Kg (3970 LBS) AT 760 KPa (110 PSI) COLD''. The
tires could be overloaded by 220 lbs per tire; in a dual configuration
on a single axle the overloading factor is 4 thereby creating an
overloading condition of 880 lbs per axle. Overloading these tires is a
potential safety issue.
2. Tireco cites a petition for inconsequential noncompliance filed
by Michelin North America, Inc. (71 FR 77092; December 22, 2006), which
was granted, and Tireco contends that the same ruling should apply to
their petition. In Michelin's case the noncompliance was that the value
of the load following the word ``DUAL'' was incorrectly marked.
However, the load values following the word ``DUAL'' were within the
safety factor range associated for similar radial truck tires of its
size. Furthermore a safety factor could be computed since both
``SINGLE'' AND ``DUAL'' words were marked on the tire. In Tireco's
case, the safety factor cannot be computed since the word ``SINGLE'' is
not marked and information is not readily available to the end user or
purchaser of the tire as to which is the single load. Having marked the
word ``DUAL'' in place of the word ``SINGLE'' eliminates the inclusion
of a safety factor for a dual configuration. This results in a risk to
3. Tireco also states that that when a tire is designed for use in
both single and dual configurations, FMVSS No. 119 requires that
compliance testing be done based on the higher, more punishing tire
load. Tireco states that this indicates that the tires will therefore
perform safely in both the single and dual configurations. Tireco
states that this principal is states in two petitions filed by Michelin
North America, Inc. that were granted by the agency. See71 FR 77092
(Dec. 22, 2006); 69 FR 62512 (Oct. 26, 2004). Both petitions cited by
Tireco involved tires for which the maximum load and tire pressure of
the tire for the dual configuration was incorrect but the maximum load
and tire pressure for the single configuration was correctly marked. In
the 2006 petition, NHTSA granted the petition, in part, because the
incorrect stated maximum load of the tire in the dual configuration was
still the safety factor for use in that configuration for that tire.
NHTSA does not believe the facts in the two Michelin petitions cited by
Tireco support a grant of this petition. In the case of the
noncompliant tires that are the subject of this petition, the load
intended to be used in the single configuration is preceded by the word
``DUAL.'' Therefore, the safety factor for the tires is eliminated in
the as used condition, as the tires could be mistakenly loaded to the
maximum load for the single configuration when used in the dual
configuration. This increases the risk to safety for the users of
vehicles on which these tires are mounted.
4. Tireco also contends that any purchaser of the subject tires and
any operator of a truck equipped with the tires would immediately
recognize that the first rating ``MAX LOAD DUAL 1800 Kg (3970 LBS) AT
760 Kpa (110 PSI) COLD'' applies to the ``SINGLE'' configuration, and
the second rating ``MAX LOAD DUAL 1700 Kg (3750 LBS) AT 760 Kpa (110
PSI) COLD'' applies to the ``DUAL'' configuration. Such persons are
fully aware that for all medium truck tires designed to be used in both
single and dual configurations, the maximum load and corresponding
pressure applicable to the single configuration is listed above the
information applicable to the dual configuration. NHTSA does not agree
with Tireco's reasoning here since a tire purchaser or end user of the
subject tires may not be fully aware that the first rating applies to
single configuration loading unless the word ``SINGLE'' is marked on
the sidewall. As wrongly marked with the word ``DUAL,'' instead of the
word ``SINGLE,'' the possibility for confusion and associated safety
5. Additionally on March 15, 2016, Tireco submitted test data to
NHTSA for review. This data consisted of endurance testing conducted by
Shandong Wanda Boto Tyre Co., LTD. to
support its basis that the tires are safe for use. This additional
testing was performed at loads, speeds, and timing greater than the
minimum requirements of FMVSS No. 119 with a duration of 121.6 hours of
testing which is 74.6 hours beyond the minimum requirements. Yet the
agency does not agree that the additional data is sufficient to support
the overload condition in the dual configuration because the tires
would be expected to operate for much longer than 121.6 hours in the
The subject tires as improperly marked indicate a maximum dual load
rating capacity value above that designed for the tire. A tire loaded
above its designed maximum load rating capacity creates a potential
safety problem for the driver of that motor vehicle and others on the
For the reasons stated above, NHTSA does not believe that the
``DUAL'' marking noncompliance on the subject MILESTAR BS623 225/
70R19.5 G/14 tires is inconsequential to motor vehicle safety. NHTSA
Decision: NHTSA has decided to deny Tireco's petition in part and grant
it in part.
In the case of the subset of the subject tires that were marked
``DUAL'' instead of ``SINGLE,'' Tireco has not met its burden of
persuasion that the noncompliance with paragraph S6.5(d) of FMVSS No.
119 is inconsequential to motor vehicle safety. Accordingly, Tireco is
obligated to provide notification of and a free remedy for that
noncompliance under 49 U.S.C. 30118 and 30120.
In the cases of the described load range letter marking
noncompliances, NHTSA has decided that Tireco has met its burden of
persuasion that the noncompliances with paragraph S6.5(j)of FMVSS No.
119 are inconsequential to motor vehicle safety and that Tireco is
therefore exempted from the obligation of providing notification of,
and a remedy for, the load range letter marking noncompliances under 49
U.S.C. 30118 and 30120.
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
from only 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, any decision on
this petition applies only to the subject tires that Tireco no longer
controlled at the time it determined that the noncompliance existed.
However, any decision on this petition does not relieve equipment
distributors and dealers of the prohibitions on the sale, offer for
sale, or introduction or delivery for introduction into interstate
commerce of the noncompliant tires under their control after Tireco
notified them that the subject noncompliance existed.
Authority: 49 U.S.C. 30118, 30120: delegations of authority at
49 CFR 1.95 and 501.8.
Issued on: August 19, 2016.
Gregory K. Rea,
Associate Administrator for Enforcement.
[FR Doc. 2016-20330 Filed 8-24-16; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-59-P
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