Sumitomo Rubber Industries, Ltd., Grant of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance, 13002-13004 [2018-05983]

Download as PDF sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with NOTICES 13002 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 58 / Monday, March 26, 2018 / Notices proposed transaction would allow for more efficient and productive management, modernizations of both rolling stock and maintenance equipment, and consolidation of debt structures. TranSouth states that the transaction would result in better service and savings in fares to the public. Also, TranSouth states that the proposed transaction would allow both companies to serve and expand their customer bases, thereby increasing the number of their employees in operations and maintenance. TranSouth further asserts that the proposed transaction would not adversely affect competition or the public interest. According to TranSouth, its and C&H’s service areas include the following: The entire Middle Georgia area; the cities of Macon, Savannah, Valdosta, Cordele, Forsyth, and Dublin; and the southern area of suburban Atlanta (the Service Area). TranSouth states that competition is robust with at least eight other companies providing motor coach passenger services within a 50-mile radius of the Service Area. Also, TranSouth states that the Atlanta metropolitan area is within 80 miles of the Service Area and has numerous entities that compete with both TranSouth and C&H. On the basis of the application, the Board finds that the proposed acquisition of control is consistent with the public interest and should be tentatively approved and authorized. If any opposing comments are timely filed, these findings will be deemed vacated, and, unless a final decision can be made on the record as developed, a procedural schedule will be adopted to reconsider the application. See 49 CFR 1182.6(c). If no opposing comments are filed by the expiration of the comment period, this notice will take effect automatically and will be the final Board action. This action is categorically excluded from environmental review under 49 CFR 1105.6(c). Board decisions and notices are available on our website at WWW.STB.GOV. It is ordered: 1. The proposed transaction is approved and authorized, subject to the filing of opposing comments. 2. If opposing comments are timely filed, the findings made in this notice will be deemed vacated. 3. This notice will be effective May 11, 2018, unless opposing comments are filed by May 10, 2018. 4. A copy of this notice will be served on: (1) The U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, 1200 New Jersey VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:38 Mar 23, 2018 Jkt 244001 Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20590; (2) the U.S. Department of Justice, Antitrust Division, 10th Street & Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20530; and (3) the U.S. Department of Transportation, Office of the General Counsel, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20590. Decided: March 20, 2018. By the Board, Board Members Begeman and Miller. Jeffrey Herzig, Clearance Clerk. [FR Doc. 2018–06050 Filed 3–23–18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4915–01–P DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION National Highway Traffic Safety Administration [Docket No. NHTSA–2017–0071; Notice 2] Sumitomo Rubber Industries, Ltd., Grant of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Department of Transportation (DOT). ACTION: Grant of petition. AGENCY: Sumitomo Rubber Industries, Ltd. (SRI), on behalf of itself and its subsidiary Sumitomo Rubber North America, Inc. (SRNA), have determined that certain Falken truck tires do not fully comply with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 119, New Pneumatic Tires for Motor Vehicles with a GVWR of more than 4,536 kilograms (10,000 pounds) and Motorcycles. SRI filed a noncompliance report dated June 20, 2017. SRI also petitioned NHTSA on July 10, 2017, for a decision that the subject noncompliance is inconsequential as it relates to motor vehicle safety. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Abraham Diaz, Office of Vehicle Safety Compliance, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), telephone (202) 366–5310, facsimile (202) 366–5930. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Overview: SRI, on behalf of itself and its subsidiary SRNA, have determined that certain Falken truck tires do not fully comply with paragraph S6.5(f) of FMVSS No. 119, New Pneumatic Tires for Motor Vehicles with a GVWR of more than 4,536 kilograms (10,000 pounds) and Motorcycles (49 CFR 571.119). SRI filed a noncompliance report dated June 20, 2017, pursuant to 49 CFR part 573, Defect and Noncompliance Responsibility and Reports. SRI also SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00065 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 petitioned NHTSA on July 10, 2017, pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 30118(d) and 30120(h) and 49 CFR part 556, for an exemption from the notification and remedy requirements of 49 U.S.C. Chapter 301 on the basis that this noncompliance is inconsequential as it relates to motor vehicle safety. Notice of receipt of the petition was published, with a 30-day public comment period, on September 22, 2017, in the Federal Register (82 FR 44488). No comments were received. To view the petition and all supporting documents log onto the Federal Docket Management System (FDMS) website at: http://www.regulations.gov/. Then follow the online search instructions to locate docket number ‘‘NHTSA–2017– 0071.’’ II. Tires Involved: Approximately 5,408 Falken truck tires (Model RI151), size 225/70R19.5, manufactured between October 17, 2016, and April 28, 2017, are potentially involved. III. Noncompliance: SRI explains that the noncompliance is that the number of plies indicated on the sidewall of the subject tires do not match the actual number of plies in the tire construction, and therefore, do not meet all applicable requirements specified in paragraph S6.5(f) of FMVSS No. 119. Specifically, the tires are marked with ‘‘TREAD 5 PLIES STEEL’’ whereas the correct marking should be ‘‘TREAD 4 PLIES STEEL.’’ IV. Rule Requirements: Paragraph S6.5 of FMVSS No. 119, titled ‘‘Tire Markings’’ includes the requirements relevant to this petition: • Each tire shall be marked on each sidewall with the information specified in paragraphs (a) through (j) of paragraph S6.5. • The actual number of plies and the composition of the ply cord material in the sidewall and, if different, in the tread area. V. Summary of SRI’s Petition: As background, On June 12, 2017, SRI discovered that a population of 5,408 Falken brand truck tires, Model RI151, size 225/70Rl9.5 128/126L, manufactured from October 17, 2016 through April 28, 2017 at the company’s plant in Miyazaki, Japan, were marked with the incorrect number of plies. On July 13, 2017, SRNA was informed of the marking error, shipments of the subject tires were halted, and the company determined that the subject tires failed to comply with the tire labeling requirements of Federal motor vehicle safety standard (FMVSS) No. 119, S6.5. Specifically, the subject tires were incorrectly marked ‘‘TREAD 5 PLIES STEEL,’’ although they should have been marked ‘‘TREAD 4 PLIES E:\FR\FM\26MRN1.SGM 26MRN1 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 58 / Monday, March 26, 2018 / Notices STEEL.’’ Accordingly, these tires do not conform to the marking requirements of FMVSS No. 119, S6.5. The subject tires comply with the performance requirements and other marking requirements of FMVSS No. 119. SRI submitted a Part 573 noncompliance report on June 20, 2017. NHTSA Recall No. l7T–012. SRI corrected the production molds. SRI began manufacturing correct versions of these tires on June 17, 2017. SRI described the subject noncompliance and stated its belief that the noncompliance is inconsequential as it relates to motor vehicle safety. In support of its petition, SRI submitted the following reasoning: Under the Safety Act, each Federal motor vehicle safety standard promulgated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) must be ‘‘practicable, meet the need for motor vehicle safety, and be stated in objective terms.’’ 49 U.S.C. 3011l(a). The Safety Act defines ‘‘motor vehicle safety’’ as: sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with NOTICES ‘‘the performance of a motor vehicle or motor vehicle equipment in a way that protects the public against unreasonable risk of accidents occurring because of the design, construction or performance of a motor vehicle, and against unreasonable risk of death or injury in an accident, and includes nonoperational safety of a motor vehicle.’’ 49 U.S.C. 30102(a)(8) (emphasis added). The Safety Act exempts manufacturers from the Safety Act’s notice and remedy requirements when the Secretary of Transportation determines that a defect or noncompliance is inconsequential as it relates to motor vehicle safety. See 49 U.S.C. 30118(d). Section 30118(d) demonstrates Congress’s acknowledgment that there are cases where a manufacturer has failed to comply with a safety standard, yet the impact on motor vehicle safety is so slight that an exemption from the notice and remedy requirements of the Safety Act is justified. NHTSA has stated that the relevant consideration in evaluating an inconsequentiality petition is ‘‘whether an occupant who is affected by the noncompliance is likely to be exposed to a significantly greater risk than an occupant in a compliant vehicle.’’ 69 FR 19897, 19900 (April 14, 2004) (emphasis added). In the context of tires specifically, the agency has similarly stated that it ‘‘believes that one measure of inconsequentiality to motor vehicle safety is that there is no effect of the noncompliance on the operational safety of vehicles on which the tires are mounted. Another measure of inconsequentiality . . . is the safety of VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:38 Mar 23, 2018 Jkt 244001 people working in the tire retread, repair and recycling industries.’’ See 72 FR 18210 (April 17, 2017) (granting petition for determination of inconsequential noncompliance with respect to SRI tires marked with the incorrect number of plies). We believe the labeling noncompliance at issue here is inconsequential to motor vehicle safety. The subject Falken tires were manufactured as designed and meet or exceed all applicable FMVSS No. 119 performance standards. Furthermore, all of the sidewall markings related to tire service (load capacity, corresponding inflation pressure, etc.) are correct and the tires correctly show that they contain steel plies. SRI does not believe the mislabeling of these tires presents a safety concern for consumers or retreading and recycling personnel. As noted above, the affected tire mold has been corrected and tires produced on and after June 17, 2017, are marked with the correct number of plies. NHTSA has previously granted petitions involving similar noncompliances. In the most recent of these, the agency explained: ‘‘Although tire construction affects the strength and durability of tires, neither the agency nor the tire industry provides information relating tire strength and durability to the number of plies and types of ply cord material in the tread sidewall. Therefore, tire dealers and customers should consider the tire construction information along with other information such as the load capacity, maximum inflation pressure, and tread wear, temperature, and traction ratings, to assess performance capabilities of various tires. In the agency’s judgement, the incorrect labeling of the tire construction information will have an inconsequential effect on motor vehicle safety because most consumers do not base tire purchases or vehicle operation parameters on the number of plies in a tire.’’ See 82 FR 18210 (April 17, 2017). Regarding potential safety risks to the tire service industry, the agency concluded that a misstatement of the number of plies ‘‘will have no measurable effect on the safety of the tire retread, repair, and recycling industries. The use of steel cord construction in the sidewall and tread is the primary safety concern of these industries. In this case, because the sidewall markings indicate that some steel plies exist in the tire sidewall, this potential safety concern does not exist.’’ As noted above, the markings on the subject tires correctly indicate that they contain steel plies (although the number is misstated as 5 instead of 4). NHTSA also granted similar petitions involving tires manufactured by Cooper Tire and SRI (Dunlop). See 74 FR 10804 (March 12, 2009) (granting petition PO 00000 Frm 00066 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 13003 submitted by SRI where tires were labeled ‘‘Tread 3 Polyester + 2 Steel,’’ whereas the correct marking should have been ‘‘Tread 2 Polyester + 2 Steel+ 2 Polyester’’); and 82 FR 17075 (April 7, 2017) (granting petition submitted by Cooper Tire & Rubber Company where tires were marked ‘‘TREAD 1 PLY NYLON + 2 PLY STEEL + 2 PLY POLYESTER,’’ whereas the correct marking should have been ‘‘TREAD 1 PLY NYLON + 2 PLY STEEL + 1 PLY POLYESTER.’’ SRI is not aware of any warranty claims, field reports, customer complaints, legal claims, or any incidents or injuries related to the subject condition. SRI concluded by expressing the belief that the subject noncompliance is inconsequential as it relates to motor vehicle safety, and that its petition to be exempted from providing notification of the noncompliance, as required by 49 U.S.C. 30118, and a remedy for the noncompliance, as required by 49 U.S.C. 30120, should be granted. NHTSA’S Decision NHTSA’S Analysis: The agency agrees with SRI that the noncompliance is inconsequential to motor vehicle safety. The agency believes that one measure of inconsequentiality to motor vehicle safety is that there is no effect of the noncompliance on the operational safety of vehicles on which these tires are mounted. Another measure of inconsequentiality which is relevant to this petition is the safety of people working in the tire retread, repair and recycling industries. Although tire construction affects the strength and durability of tires, neither the agency nor the tire industry provides information relating tire strength and durability to the number of plies and types of ply cord material in the tread sidewall. Therefore, tire dealers and customers should consider the tire construction information along with other information such as the load capacity, maximum inflation pressure, tread wear, temperature, and traction ratings, to assess performance capabilities of various tires. In the agency’s judgement, the incorrect labeling of the tire construction information will have an inconsequential effect on motor vehicle safety because most consumers do not base tire purchases or vehicle operation parameters on the number of plies in a tire. The agency also believes the noncompliance will have no measureable effect on the safety of the tire retread, repair, and recycling industries. The use of steel cord E:\FR\FM\26MRN1.SGM 26MRN1 13004 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 58 / Monday, March 26, 2018 / Notices construction in the sidewall and tread is the primary safety concern of these industries. In this case, because of the sidewall marking indicate that some steel plies exist in the tire sidewall, this potential safety concern does not exist. NHTSA’S Decision: In consideration of the foregoing, NHTSA finds that SRI has met its burden of persuasion that the subject FMVSS No. 119 noncompliance in the affected tires is inconsequential to motor vehicle safety. Accordingly, SRI’s petition is hereby granted and SRI is consequently exempted from the obligation of providing notification of, and a free remedy for, that noncompliance 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 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, this decision only applies to the subject tires that SRI no longer controlled at the time it determined that the noncompliance existed. However, the granting of 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 SRI 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 Claudia Covell, Acting Director, Office of Vehicle Safety Compliance. [FR Doc. 2018–05983 Filed 3–23–18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–59–P DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration [Docket No. PHMSA–2018–0021] sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with NOTICES Pipeline Safety: Information Collection Activities Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), DOT. ACTION: Notice and request for comments. AGENCY: In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:38 Mar 23, 2018 Jkt 244001 PHMSA invites comments on three information collections that are due to expire during the summer of 2018. PHMSA will request an extension with no change for the information collections identified by OMB control numbers 2137–0048, 2137–0600, and 2137–0618. DATES: Interested persons are invited to submit comments on or before May 25, 2018. ADDRESSES: Comments may be submitted in the following ways: E-Gov website: http:// www.regulations.gov. This site allows the public to enter comments on any Federal Register notice issued by any agency. Fax: 1–202–493–2251. Mail: Docket Management Facility; U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, West Building, Room W12–140, Washington, DC 20590–0001. Hand Delivery: Room W12–140 on the ground level of DOT, West Building, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC, between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. Instructions: Identify the Docket No. PHMSA–2018–0021, at the beginning of your comments. Note that all comments received will be posted without change to http://www.regulations.gov, including any personal information provided. Privacy Act Statement: DOT may solicit comments from the public regarding certain general notices. DOT posts these comments, without edit, including any personal information the commenter provides, to www.regulations.gov, as described in the system of records notice (DOT/ALL– 14 FDMS), which can be reviewed at www.dot.gov/privacy. Docket: For access to the docket or to read background documents or comments, go to http:// www.regulations.gov at any time or to Room W12–140 on the ground level of DOT, West Building, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC, between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. If you wish to receive confirmation of receipt of your written comments, please include a self-addressed, stamped postcard with the following statement: ‘‘Comments on Docket No. PHMSA–2018–0021.’’ The Docket Clerk will date stamp the postcard prior to returning it to you via the U.S. mail. Please note that due to delays in the delivery of U.S. mail to Federal offices in Washington, DC, we recommend that persons consider an alternative method (internet, fax, or professional delivery PO 00000 Frm 00067 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 service) of submitting comments to the docket and ensuring their timely receipt at DOT. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Angela Dow by telephone at 202–366– 1246, by fax at 202–366–4566, or by mail at DOT, PHMSA, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, PHP–30, Washington, DC 20590–0001. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Section 1320.8(d), Title 5, Code of Federal Regulations, requires PHMSA to provide interested members of the public and affected agencies an opportunity to comment on information collection and recordkeeping requests. This notice identifies three information collection requests that PHMSA will submit to OMB for renewal. The following information is provided for each information collection: (1) Title of the information collection; (2) OMB control number; (3) Current expiration date; (4) Type of request; (5) Abstract of the information collection activity; (6) Description of affected public; (7) Estimate of total annual reporting and recordkeeping burden; and (8) Frequency of collection. PHMSA will request a three-year term of approval for each information collection activity. PHMSA requests comments on the following information collections: 1. Title: Recordkeeping Requirements for Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Facilities. OMB Control Number: 2137–0048. Current Expiration Date: 06/30/2018. Type of Request: Renewal with no change of a currently approved information collection. Abstract: LNG facility owners and operators are required to maintain records, make reports, and provide information to the Secretary of Transportation at the Secretary’s request. Affected Public: Owners and Operators of Liquefied Natural Gas Facilities. Annual Reporting and Recordkeeping Burden: Estimated Number of Responses: 101. Estimated Annual Burden Hours: 12,120. Frequency of Collection: On occasion. 2. Title: Qualification of Pipeline Safety Training. OMB Control Number: 2137–0600. Current Expiration Date: 07/31/2018. Type of Request: Renewal with no change of a currently approved information collection. Abstract: All individuals responsible for the operation and maintenance of pipeline facilities are required to be properly qualified to safely perform their tasks. 49 CFR 192.807 requires E:\FR\FM\26MRN1.SGM 26MRN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 83, Number 58 (Monday, March 26, 2018)]
[Notices]
[Pages 13002-13004]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2018-05983]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

[Docket No. NHTSA-2017-0071; Notice 2]


Sumitomo Rubber Industries, Ltd., Grant of Petition for Decision 
of Inconsequential Noncompliance

AGENCY: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 
Department of Transportation (DOT).

ACTION: Grant of petition.

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SUMMARY: Sumitomo Rubber Industries, Ltd. (SRI), on behalf of itself 
and its subsidiary Sumitomo Rubber North America, Inc. (SRNA), have 
determined that certain Falken truck tires do not fully comply with 
Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 119, New Pneumatic 
Tires for Motor Vehicles with a GVWR of more than 4,536 kilograms 
(10,000 pounds) and Motorcycles. SRI filed a noncompliance report dated 
June 20, 2017. SRI also petitioned NHTSA on July 10, 2017, for a 
decision that the subject noncompliance is inconsequential as it 
relates to motor vehicle safety.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Abraham Diaz, Office of Vehicle Safety 
Compliance, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 
telephone (202) 366-5310, facsimile (202) 366-5930.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:
    I. Overview: SRI, on behalf of itself and its subsidiary SRNA, have 
determined that certain Falken truck tires do not fully comply with 
paragraph S6.5(f) of FMVSS No. 119, New Pneumatic Tires for Motor 
Vehicles with a GVWR of more than 4,536 kilograms (10,000 pounds) and 
Motorcycles (49 CFR 571.119). SRI filed a noncompliance report dated 
June 20, 2017, pursuant to 49 CFR part 573, Defect and Noncompliance 
Responsibility and Reports. SRI also petitioned NHTSA on July 10, 2017, 
pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 30118(d) and 30120(h) and 49 CFR part 556, for an 
exemption from the notification and remedy requirements of 49 U.S.C. 
Chapter 301 on the basis that this noncompliance is inconsequential as 
it relates to motor vehicle safety.
    Notice of receipt of the petition was published, with a 30-day 
public comment period, on September 22, 2017, in the Federal Register 
(82 FR 44488). No comments were received. To view the petition and all 
supporting documents log onto the Federal Docket Management System 
(FDMS) website at: http://www.regulations.gov/. Then follow the online 
search instructions to locate docket number ``NHTSA-2017-0071.''
    II. Tires Involved: Approximately 5,408 Falken truck tires (Model 
RI151), size 225/70R19.5, manufactured between October 17, 2016, and 
April 28, 2017, are potentially involved.
    III. Noncompliance: SRI explains that the noncompliance is that the 
number of plies indicated on the sidewall of the subject tires do not 
match the actual number of plies in the tire construction, and 
therefore, do not meet all applicable requirements specified in 
paragraph S6.5(f) of FMVSS No. 119. Specifically, the tires are marked 
with ``TREAD 5 PLIES STEEL'' whereas the correct marking should be 
``TREAD 4 PLIES STEEL.''
    IV. Rule Requirements: Paragraph S6.5 of FMVSS No. 119, titled 
``Tire Markings'' includes the requirements relevant to this petition:
     Each tire shall be marked on each sidewall with the 
information specified in paragraphs (a) through (j) of paragraph S6.5.
     The actual number of plies and the composition of the ply 
cord material in the sidewall and, if different, in the tread area.
    V. Summary of SRI's Petition: As background, On June 12, 2017, SRI 
discovered that a population of 5,408 Falken brand truck tires, Model 
RI151, size 225/70Rl9.5 128/126L, manufactured from October 17, 2016 
through April 28, 2017 at the company's plant in Miyazaki, Japan, were 
marked with the incorrect number of plies. On July 13, 2017, SRNA was 
informed of the marking error, shipments of the subject tires were 
halted, and the company determined that the subject tires failed to 
comply with the tire labeling requirements of Federal motor vehicle 
safety standard (FMVSS) No. 119, S6.5. Specifically, the subject tires 
were incorrectly marked ``TREAD 5 PLIES STEEL,'' although they should 
have been marked ``TREAD 4 PLIES

[[Page 13003]]

STEEL.'' Accordingly, these tires do not conform to the marking 
requirements of FMVSS No. 119, S6.5. The subject tires comply with the 
performance requirements and other marking requirements of FMVSS No. 
119.
    SRI submitted a Part 573 noncompliance report on June 20, 2017. 
NHTSA Recall No. l7T-012. SRI corrected the production molds. SRI began 
manufacturing correct versions of these tires on June 17, 2017.
    SRI described the subject noncompliance and stated its belief that 
the noncompliance is inconsequential as it relates to motor vehicle 
safety.
    In support of its petition, SRI submitted the following reasoning:
    Under the Safety Act, each Federal motor vehicle safety standard 
promulgated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration 
(NHTSA) must be ``practicable, meet the need for motor vehicle safety, 
and be stated in objective terms.'' 49 U.S.C. 3011l(a). The Safety Act 
defines ``motor vehicle safety'' as:

``the performance of a motor vehicle or motor vehicle equipment in a 
way that protects the public against unreasonable risk of accidents 
occurring because of the design, construction or performance of a 
motor vehicle, and against unreasonable risk of death or injury in 
an accident, and includes nonoperational safety of a motor 
vehicle.''

49 U.S.C. 30102(a)(8) (emphasis added).
    The Safety Act exempts manufacturers from the Safety Act's notice 
and remedy requirements when the Secretary of Transportation determines 
that a defect or noncompliance is inconsequential as it relates to 
motor vehicle safety. See 49 U.S.C. 30118(d). Section 30118(d) 
demonstrates Congress's acknowledgment that there are cases where a 
manufacturer has failed to comply with a safety standard, yet the 
impact on motor vehicle safety is so slight that an exemption from the 
notice and remedy requirements of the Safety Act is justified. NHTSA 
has stated that the relevant consideration in evaluating an 
inconsequentiality petition is ``whether an occupant who is affected by 
the noncompliance is likely to be exposed to a significantly greater 
risk than an occupant in a compliant vehicle.'' 69 FR 19897, 19900 
(April 14, 2004) (emphasis added).
    In the context of tires specifically, the agency has similarly 
stated that it ``believes that one measure of inconsequentiality to 
motor vehicle safety is that there is no effect of the noncompliance on 
the operational safety of vehicles on which the tires are mounted. 
Another measure of inconsequentiality . . . is the safety of people 
working in the tire retread, repair and recycling industries.'' See 72 
FR 18210 (April 17, 2017) (granting petition for determination of 
inconsequential noncompliance with respect to SRI tires marked with the 
incorrect number of plies).
    We believe the labeling noncompliance at issue here is 
inconsequential to motor vehicle safety. The subject Falken tires were 
manufactured as designed and meet or exceed all applicable FMVSS No. 
119 performance standards. Furthermore, all of the sidewall markings 
related to tire service (load capacity, corresponding inflation 
pressure, etc.) are correct and the tires correctly show that they 
contain steel plies. SRI does not believe the mislabeling of these 
tires presents a safety concern for consumers or retreading and 
recycling personnel. As noted above, the affected tire mold has been 
corrected and tires produced on and after June 17, 2017, are marked 
with the correct number of plies.
    NHTSA has previously granted petitions involving similar 
noncompliances. In the most recent of these, the agency explained:

    ``Although tire construction affects the strength and durability 
of tires, neither the agency nor the tire industry provides 
information relating tire strength and durability to the number of 
plies and types of ply cord material in the tread sidewall. 
Therefore, tire dealers and customers should consider the tire 
construction information along with other information such as the 
load capacity, maximum inflation pressure, and tread wear, 
temperature, and traction ratings, to assess performance 
capabilities of various tires. In the agency's judgement, the 
incorrect labeling of the tire construction information will have an 
inconsequential effect on motor vehicle safety because most 
consumers do not base tire purchases or vehicle operation parameters 
on the number of plies in a tire.''

See 82 FR 18210 (April 17, 2017).
    Regarding potential safety risks to the tire service industry, the 
agency concluded that a misstatement of the number of plies ``will have 
no measurable effect on the safety of the tire retread, repair, and 
recycling industries. The use of steel cord construction in the 
sidewall and tread is the primary safety concern of these industries. 
In this case, because the sidewall markings indicate that some steel 
plies exist in the tire sidewall, this potential safety concern does 
not exist.'' As noted above, the markings on the subject tires 
correctly indicate that they contain steel plies (although the number 
is misstated as 5 instead of 4).
    NHTSA also granted similar petitions involving tires manufactured 
by Cooper Tire and SRI (Dunlop). See 74 FR 10804 (March 12, 2009) 
(granting petition submitted by SRI where tires were labeled ``Tread 3 
Polyester + 2 Steel,'' whereas the correct marking should have been 
``Tread 2 Polyester + 2 Steel+ 2 Polyester''); and 82 FR 17075 (April 
7, 2017) (granting petition submitted by Cooper Tire & Rubber Company 
where tires were marked ``TREAD 1 PLY NYLON + 2 PLY STEEL + 2 PLY 
POLYESTER,'' whereas the correct marking should have been ``TREAD 1 PLY 
NYLON + 2 PLY STEEL + 1 PLY POLYESTER.''
    SRI is not aware of any warranty claims, field reports, customer 
complaints, legal claims, or any incidents or injuries related to the 
subject condition.
    SRI concluded by expressing the belief that the subject 
noncompliance is inconsequential as it relates to motor vehicle safety, 
and that its petition to be exempted from providing notification of the 
noncompliance, as required by 49 U.S.C. 30118, and a remedy for the 
noncompliance, as required by 49 U.S.C. 30120, should be granted.

NHTSA'S Decision

    NHTSA'S Analysis: The agency agrees with SRI that the noncompliance 
is inconsequential to motor vehicle safety. The agency believes that 
one measure of inconsequentiality to motor vehicle safety is that there 
is no effect of the noncompliance on the operational safety of vehicles 
on which these tires are mounted. Another measure of inconsequentiality 
which is relevant to this petition is the safety of people working in 
the tire retread, repair and recycling industries.
    Although tire construction affects the strength and durability of 
tires, neither the agency nor the tire industry provides information 
relating tire strength and durability to the number of plies and types 
of ply cord material in the tread sidewall. Therefore, tire dealers and 
customers should consider the tire construction information along with 
other information such as the load capacity, maximum inflation 
pressure, tread wear, temperature, and traction ratings, to assess 
performance capabilities of various tires. In the agency's judgement, 
the incorrect labeling of the tire construction information will have 
an inconsequential effect on motor vehicle safety because most 
consumers do not base tire purchases or vehicle operation parameters on 
the number of plies in a tire.
    The agency also believes the noncompliance will have no measureable 
effect on the safety of the tire retread, repair, and recycling 
industries. The use of steel cord

[[Page 13004]]

construction in the sidewall and tread is the primary safety concern of 
these industries. In this case, because of the sidewall marking 
indicate that some steel plies exist in the tire sidewall, this 
potential safety concern does not exist.
    NHTSA'S Decision: In consideration of the foregoing, NHTSA finds 
that SRI has met its burden of persuasion that the subject FMVSS No. 
119 noncompliance in the affected tires is inconsequential to motor 
vehicle safety. Accordingly, SRI's petition is hereby granted and SRI 
is consequently exempted from the obligation of providing notification 
of, and a free remedy for, that noncompliance 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 
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, this decision 
only applies to the subject tires that SRI no longer controlled at the 
time it determined that the noncompliance existed. However, the 
granting of 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 SRI 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

Claudia Covell,
Acting Director, Office of Vehicle Safety Compliance.
[FR Doc. 2018-05983 Filed 3-23-18; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 4910-59-P