Hankook Tire America Corporation, Grant of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance, 3378-3380 [2022-01133]

Download as PDF 3378 Federal Register / Vol. 87, No. 14 / Friday, January 21, 2022 / Notices jspears on DSK121TN23PROD with NOTICES1 of airport property at the Ottumwa Regional Airport (OTM) under the provisions of 49 U.S.C. 47107(h)(2). Representatives of the Sponsor requested a release from the FAA to sell two tracts of land, 4.51 acres and 2.06 acres respectively. Both parcels will be developed for light industrial use. The FAA determined the request to release property at the Ottumwa Regional Airport (OTM) submitted by the Sponsor meets the procedural requirements of the Federal Aviation Administration and the release of the property does not and will not impact future aviation needs at the airport. The FAA may approve the request, in whole or in part, no sooner than thirty days after the publication of this notice. The following is a brief overview of the request: The Ottumwa Regional Airport (OTM) is proposing the release of two airport parcels containing 4.51 acres and 2.06 acres. The release of land is necessary to comply with Federal Aviation Administration Grant Assurances that do not allow federally acquired airport property to be used for non-aviation purposes. The sale of the subject property will result in the land at the Ottumwa Regional Airport (OTM) being changed from aeronautical to nonaeronautical use and release the lands from the conditions of the Airport Improvement Program Grant Agreement Grant Assurances in order to dispose of the land. In accordance with 49 U.S.C. 47107(c)(2)(B)(i) and (iii), the airport will receive fair market value for the property, which will be subsequently reinvested in another eligible airport improvement project for general aviation use. Any person may inspect, by appointment, the request in person at the FAA office listed above under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT. In addition, any person may, upon appointment and request, inspect the application, notice and other documents determined by the FAA to be related to the application in person at the Ottumwa City Hall. Issued in Kansas City, MO, on January 18, 2022. James A. Johnson, Director, FAA Central Region, Airports Division. [FR Doc. 2022–01173 Filed 1–20–22; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–13–P VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:39 Jan 20, 2022 Jkt 256001 DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION National Highway Traffic Safety Administration [Docket No. NHTSA–2020–0020; Notice 2] Hankook Tire America Corporation, Grant of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Department of Transportation (DOT). ACTION: Grant of petition. AGENCY: Hankook Tire America Corporation (Hankook) has determined that certain Hankook Dynapro MT2 tires, do not fully comply with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 139, New Pneumatic Radial Tires for Light Vehicles. Hankook filed a noncompliance report dated February 19, 2020, and subsequently petitioned NHTSA on March 11, 2020, for a decision that the subject noncompliance is inconsequential as it relates to motor vehicle safety. This notice announces the grant of Hankook’s petition. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jayton Lindley, Office of Vehicle Safety Compliance, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), (325) 655–0547, jayton.lindley@dot.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: SUMMARY: I. Overview Hankook has determined that certain Hankook Dynapro MT2 tires, do not fully comply with paragraph S5.5(f) of FMVSS No. 139, New pneumatic radial tires for light vehicles (49 CFR 571.139). Hankook filed a noncompliance report dated February 19, 2020, pursuant to 49 CFR part 573, Defect and Noncompliance Responsibility and Reports, and subsequently petitioned NHTSA on March 11, 2020, 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, pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 30118(d) and 30120(h) and 49 CFR part 556, Exemption for Inconsequential Defect or Noncompliance. Notice of receipt of Hankook’s petition was published with a 30-day public comment period, on August 28, 2020, in the Federal Register (85 FR 53436). One comment was received. To view the petition and all supporting documents log onto the Federal Docket Management System (FDMS) website at https://www.regulations.gov/. Then follow the online search instructions to locate docket number ‘‘NHTSA–2020– 0020.’’ PO 00000 Frm 00101 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 II. Tires Involved Approximately 175 Hankook Dynapro MT2 tires, size LT215/85R16, manufactured between October 20, 2019, and November 30, 2019, are potentially involved. III. Noncompliance Hankook explains that the noncompliance is that the subject tires were marked with the incorrect number of nylon plies in the tread; and, therefore, do not meet the requirements of paragraph S5.5(f) of FMVSS No. 139. Specifically, the tires were marked ‘‘TREAD 2 STEEL + 2 POLYESTER + 1 NYLON; SIDEWALL 2 POLYESTER’’, when they should have been marked ‘‘TREAD 2 STEEL + 2 POLYESTER + 2 NYLON; SIDEWALL 2 POLYESTER.’’ IV. Rule Requirements Paragraph S5.5(f) of FMVSS No. 139, includes the requirements relevant to this petition. Each tire must be marked on one sidewall with the actual number of plies in the sidewall and the actual number of plies in the tread area, if different, as specified in paragraph S5.5(f). V. Summary of Hankook’s Petition The following views and arguments presented in this section, ‘‘V. Summary of Hankook’s Petition,’’ are the views and arguments provided by Hankook and do not reflect the views of the Agency. In its petition, Hankook describes the subject noncompliance and contends that the noncompliance is inconsequential as it relates to motor vehicle safety. In support of its petition, Hankook offers the following reasoning: 1. The incorrect ply labeling information does not affect the operational safety of vehicles on which the tires are mounted. 2. The tires meet or exceed the performance requirements of FMVSS No. 139, and they otherwise comply with the labeling and performance requirements of FMVSS No. 139. 3. Hankook is not aware of any warranty claims, field reports, customer complaints, or any incidents, accidents, or injuries related to the subject condition. 4. Hankook cites the Transportation Recall, Enhancement, Accountability and Documentation (TREAD) Act (Pub. L. 106–414) and several of NHTSA’s past grant notices of petitions for decisions of inconsequential noncompliance concerning the mislabeling of ply information and contend those are similar to the subject petition. Hankook states that NHTSA has routinely concluded the number of E:\FR\FM\21JAN1.SGM 21JAN1 Federal Register / Vol. 87, No. 14 / Friday, January 21, 2022 / Notices plies is inconsequential to vehicle safety. Hankook believes the same reasoning applies to the subject tires and that mislabeling the number of nylon plies does not affect the operational safety of the vehicles. Further, Hankook states, the subject tires correctly label the number of steel plies, alleviating the safety concern for the tire retread, repair, and recycling industries.’’ Hankook argues 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. Hankook’s complete petition and all supporting documents are available by logging onto the Federal Docket Management System (FDMS) website at: https://www.regulations.gov and by following the online search instructions to locate the docket number as listed in the title of this notice. VI. Public Comment NHTSA received one comment from the general public regarding Hankook’s petition from Mr. Bruce Grim.1 Mr. Grim stated that although mislabeling a tire sidewall may seem inconsequential, for some in the industry it is still an important aspect of safety for consumers. He suggested that the public is not sufficiently notified at the point of sale of the potential perils or hazards due to the subject noncompliance. Mr. Grim also states that in the event of a recall, it is important that retailers and consumers can identify the subject tires. VII. NHTSA’s Analysis jspears on DSK121TN23PROD with NOTICES1 A. General Principles An important issue to consider in determining inconsequentiality is the safety risk to individuals who experience the type of event against which the recall would otherwise protect.2 In general, NHTSA does not consider the absence of complaints or injuries to show that the issue is 1 See https://www.regulations.gov/comment/ NHTSA-2020-0020-0003. 2 See Gen. Motors, LLC; Grant of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance, 78 FR 35355 (June 12, 2013) (finding noncompliance had no effect on occupant safety because it had no effect on the proper operation of the occupant classification system and the correct deployment of an air bag); Osram Sylvania Prods. Inc.; Grant of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance, 78 FR 46000 (July 30, 2013) (finding occupant using noncompliant light source would not be exposed to significantly greater risk than occupant using similar compliant light source). VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:39 Jan 20, 2022 Jkt 256001 inconsequential to safety. ‘‘Most importantly, the absence of a complaint does not mean there have not been any safety issues, nor does it mean that there will not be safety issues in the future.’’ 3 ‘‘[T]he fact that in past reported cases good luck and swift reaction have prevented many serious injuries does not mean that good luck will continue to work.’’ 4 Arguments that only a small number of vehicles or items of motor vehicle equipment are affected have also not justified granting an inconsequentiality petition.5 Similarly, NHTSA has rejected petitions based on the assertion that only a small percentage of vehicles or items of equipment are likely to actually exhibit a noncompliance. The percentage of potential occupants that could be adversely affected by a noncompliance does not determine the question of inconsequentiality. Rather, the issue to consider is the consequence to an occupant who is exposed to the consequence of that noncompliance.6 B. NHTSA’s Response to Hankook’s Petition NHTSA has evaluated the merits of the inconsequential noncompliance petition submitted by the petitioner and agrees that, based on the facts presented, this specific noncompliance of the subject tires is inconsequential to motor vehicle safety. The Agency considered the following prior to making this determination: 1. Operational Safety & Performance: NHTSA agrees that in this case, the incorrect number of nylon plies labeled 3 Morgan 3 Wheeler Limited; Denial of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance, 81 FR 21663, 21666 (Apr. 12, 2016). 4 United States v. Gen. Motors Corp., 565 F.2d 754, 759 (D.C. Cir. 1977) (finding defect poses an unreasonable risk when it ‘‘results in hazards as potentially dangerous as sudden engine fire, and where there is no dispute that at least some such hazards, in this case fires, can definitely be expected to occur in the future’’). 5 See Mercedes-Benz, U.S.A., L.L.C.; Denial of Application for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance, 66 FR 38342 (July 23, 2001) (rejecting argument that noncompliance was inconsequential because of the small number of vehicles affected); Aston Martin Lagonda Ltd.; Denial of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance, 81 FR 41370 (June 24, 2016) (noting that situations involving individuals trapped in motor vehicles—while infrequent—are consequential to safety); Morgan 3 Wheeler Ltd.; Denial of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance, 81 FR 21663, 21664 (Apr. 12, 2016) (rejecting argument that petition should be granted because the vehicle was produced in very low numbers and likely to be operated on a limited basis). 6 See Gen. Motors Corp.; Ruling on Petition for Determination of Inconsequential Noncompliance, 69 FR 19897, 19900 (Apr. 14, 2004); Cosco Inc.; Denial of Application for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance, 64 FR 29408, 29409 (June 1, 1999). PO 00000 Frm 00102 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 3379 on the tire has no effect on the operational safety of vehicles when the affected tires meet the other performance and labeling requirements of the applicable FMVSS. 2. Tire Identification and Traceability: The tires have the required information per 49 CFR 574.5 to ensure that the tires may be properly registered for the purposes of a safety recall. The entire TIN, including the plant code and manufacturing date is both legible and easily discernible. 3. Downstream Operations: The Agency must also consider other stakeholders, in addition to the manufacturer and end-user. Downstream entities involved in tire repair, retreading, and recycling operations require certain information to determine if tires may be safely used in their operations. The existence of steel in a tire’s sidewall and tread can be relevant to the manner in which it should be repaired or retreaded. The use of steel cord construction in the sidewall and tread is the primary safety concern of these industries. The Agency believes the noncompliance of the subject tires will have no measurable effect on the safety of the tire retread, repair, and recycling industries since the tire sidewalls are marked correctly for the number of steel plies. 4. Consumer Feedback and Focus Groups: The Agency has concluded, based on previous feedback, that the tire construction information, specifically the number of plies and cord material in the sidewall and tread plies, influences very few consumers when they are deciding to buy a motor vehicle or replacement tires. This conclusion is based on information gathered from the Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) that was published in the Federal Register on December 1, 2000, (65 FR 75222). 5. Public Comments: In response to Mr. Grim’s comments, the Agency agrees that the safety of the end-users is a priority and has taken that into consideration when analyzing this petition. Furthermore, the Agency agrees that the user’s ability to identify a tire in the event of a recall is important and finds nothing in the facts of this petition that would impede tire identification of the subject tires in the event of a recall. In summary, the Agency believes that the specific incorrect labeling of the tire construction information present in this instance will have an inconsequential effect on motor vehicle safety or any related downstream tire repair, retread, or recycling operations. E:\FR\FM\21JAN1.SGM 21JAN1 3380 Federal Register / Vol. 87, No. 14 / Friday, January 21, 2022 / Notices VIII. NHTSA’s Decision In consideration of the foregoing, NHTSA finds that Hankook has met its burden of persuasion that the subject FMVSS No. 139 noncompliance in the affected tires is inconsequential to motor vehicle safety. Accordingly, Hankook’s petition is hereby granted and Hankook 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 Hankook 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 Hankook 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) Otto G. Matheke, III, Director, Office of Vehicle Safety Compliance. [FR Doc. 2022–01133 Filed 1–20–22; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–59–P DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION National Highway Traffic Safety Administration [Docket No. NHTSA–2019–0006; Notice 2] Volkswagen Group of America, Inc., Grant of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Department of Transportation (DOT). ACTION: Grant of petition. jspears on DSK121TN23PROD with NOTICES1 AGENCY: Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. (Volkswagen), has determined that certain model year (MY) 2015–2016 Audi A3 and Audi S3 motor vehicles do not comply with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 108, Lamps, Reflective Devices, and Associated Equipment. SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:39 Jan 20, 2022 Jkt 256001 Volkswagen filed a noncompliance report dated January 28, 2019, and a petition was received by NHTSA on January 28, 2019, for a decision that the subject noncompliance is inconsequential as it relates to motor vehicle safety. This document announces the grant of Volkswagen’s petition. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Leroy Angeles, Office of Vehicle Safety Compliance, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), (202) 366–5304, Leroy.Angeles@dot.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Overview: Volkswagen has determined that certain MY 2015–2016 Audi A3 Sedan, S3 Sedan, and A3 Cabriolet motor vehicles do not comply with paragraph S9.3.6. of FMVSS No. 108, Lamps, Reflective Devices, and Associated Equipment (49 CFR 571.108). Volkswagen filed a noncompliance report dated January 28, 2019, pursuant to 49 CFR 573, Defect and Noncompliance Responsibility and Reports, and a petition received by NHTSA on January 28, 2019, 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, pursuant to 40 U.S.C. 30118 and 49 U.S.C. 30120, Exemption for Inconsequential Defect or Noncompliance. Notice of receipt of Volkswagen’s petition was published with a 30-day public comment period, on July 9, 2019, in the Federal Register (84 FR 32830). One comment was received. To view the petition and all supporting documents log onto the Federal Docket Management System (FDMS) website at https://www.regulations.gov/. Then follow the online search instructions to locate docket number ‘‘NHTSA–2019– 0006.’’ II. Vehicles Involved: Approximately 81,831 MY 2015–2016 Audi A3, S3 Sedan, and A3 Cabriolet motor vehicles, manufactured between November 28, 2013, and July 28, 2016, are potentially involved. III. Noncompliance: Volkswagen explains that the noncompliance is that the subject vehicles are equipped with turn signal pilot indicators that do not meet the flashing rate as required by paragraph S9.3.6 of FMVSS No. 108. Specifically, the left turn signal indicator does not have a significant change in the flashing rate when the left rear turn signal LED array becomes inoperative. IV. Rule Requirements: Paragraph S9.3.6 of FMVSS No. 108 provides the requirements relevant to this petition. PO 00000 Frm 00103 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Failure of one or more turn signal lamps, such that the minimum photometric performance specified in Tables VI or VII of FMVSS No. 108 is not being met, must be indicated by the turn signal pilot indicator by a ‘‘steady on,’’ ‘‘steady off,’’ or by a significant change in the flashing rate. V. Summary of Volkswagen’s Petition: Volkswagen describes the subject noncompliance and contends that the noncompliance is inconsequential as it relates to motor vehicle safety. The following views and arguments presented in this section, ‘‘V. Summary of Volkswagen’s Petition,’’ are the views and arguments provided by Volkswagen and do not reflect the views of the Agency. In support of its petition, Volkswagen offers the following reasoning: (a) The driver receives two different indicator warnings that the rear brake light is inoperative in the instrument cluster immediately upon failure of the turn signal lamp to comply with the photometry requirements of FMVSS No. 108. This happens because the brake light and indicator light/turn signal are combined. (b) The subject condition, the lack of a turn signal pilot indicator flash rate change, is limited to the condition in which the outermost left rear turn signal lamp fails. (c) In the case of LED array failure, both the brake light and indicator light/turn signal become inoperative. Should the required left turn signal become inoperative, Volkswagen confirmed that other auxiliary left turn signal lights located on the trunk and the left side mirror are still operational. Additionally, the back-up lamp in the left rear tail lamp assembly, the left brake light in the trunk lid assembly, and the center high mount stop lamp, will remain operational. Volkswagen concludes 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. VI. Public Comments: NHTSA received one comment from the public. This comment was received from an individual who believed that Volkswagen’s reasoning is unclear as it stands, and that NHTSA should request more information from Volkswagen or deem the noncompliance consequential. The commenter said that it is unclear as to whether the ‘‘two different indicator warnings in the instrument cluster’’ are compliant and that a redundancy should not be considered an appropriate substitute for a well-functioning, compliant failure indicator that’s required by the FMVSS. The commenter also said that the rule requirements are E:\FR\FM\21JAN1.SGM 21JAN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 87, Number 14 (Friday, January 21, 2022)]
[Notices]
[Pages 3378-3380]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2022-01133]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

[Docket No. NHTSA-2020-0020; Notice 2]


Hankook Tire America Corporation, 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: Hankook Tire America Corporation (Hankook) has determined that 
certain Hankook Dynapro MT2 tires, do not fully comply with Federal 
Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 139, New Pneumatic Radial 
Tires for Light Vehicles. Hankook filed a noncompliance report dated 
February 19, 2020, and subsequently petitioned NHTSA on March 11, 2020, 
for a decision that the subject noncompliance is inconsequential as it 
relates to motor vehicle safety. This notice announces the grant of 
Hankook's petition.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jayton Lindley, Office of Vehicle 
Safety Compliance, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration 
(NHTSA), (325) 655-0547, [email protected].

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Overview

    Hankook has determined that certain Hankook Dynapro MT2 tires, do 
not fully comply with paragraph S5.5(f) of FMVSS No. 139, New pneumatic 
radial tires for light vehicles (49 CFR 571.139).
    Hankook filed a noncompliance report dated February 19, 2020, 
pursuant to 49 CFR part 573, Defect and Noncompliance Responsibility 
and Reports, and subsequently petitioned NHTSA on March 11, 2020, 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, pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 30118(d) and 
30120(h) and 49 CFR part 556, Exemption for Inconsequential Defect or 
Noncompliance.
    Notice of receipt of Hankook's petition was published with a 30-day 
public comment period, on August 28, 2020, in the Federal Register (85 
FR 53436). One comment was received. To view the petition and all 
supporting documents log onto the Federal Docket Management System 
(FDMS) website at https://www.regulations.gov/. Then follow the online 
search instructions to locate docket number ``NHTSA-2020-0020.''

II. Tires Involved

    Approximately 175 Hankook Dynapro MT2 tires, size LT215/85R16, 
manufactured between October 20, 2019, and November 30, 2019, are 
potentially involved.

III. Noncompliance

    Hankook explains that the noncompliance is that the subject tires 
were marked with the incorrect number of nylon plies in the tread; and, 
therefore, do not meet the requirements of paragraph S5.5(f) of FMVSS 
No. 139. Specifically, the tires were marked ``TREAD 2 STEEL + 2 
POLYESTER + 1 NYLON; SIDEWALL 2 POLYESTER'', when they should have been 
marked ``TREAD 2 STEEL + 2 POLYESTER + 2 NYLON; SIDEWALL 2 POLYESTER.''

IV. Rule Requirements

    Paragraph S5.5(f) of FMVSS No. 139, includes the requirements 
relevant to this petition. Each tire must be marked on one sidewall 
with the actual number of plies in the sidewall and the actual number 
of plies in the tread area, if different, as specified in paragraph 
S5.5(f).

V. Summary of Hankook's Petition

    The following views and arguments presented in this section, ``V. 
Summary of Hankook's Petition,'' are the views and arguments provided 
by Hankook and do not reflect the views of the Agency. In its petition, 
Hankook describes the subject noncompliance and contends that the 
noncompliance is inconsequential as it relates to motor vehicle safety.
    In support of its petition, Hankook offers the following reasoning:
    1. The incorrect ply labeling information does not affect the 
operational safety of vehicles on which the tires are mounted.
    2. The tires meet or exceed the performance requirements of FMVSS 
No. 139, and they otherwise comply with the labeling and performance 
requirements of FMVSS No. 139.
    3. Hankook is not aware of any warranty claims, field reports, 
customer complaints, or any incidents, accidents, or injuries related 
to the subject condition.
    4. Hankook cites the Transportation Recall, Enhancement, 
Accountability and Documentation (TREAD) Act (Pub. L. 106-414) and 
several of NHTSA's past grant notices of petitions for decisions of 
inconsequential noncompliance concerning the mislabeling of ply 
information and contend those are similar to the subject petition. 
Hankook states that NHTSA has routinely concluded the number of

[[Page 3379]]

plies is inconsequential to vehicle safety. Hankook believes the same 
reasoning applies to the subject tires and that mislabeling the number 
of nylon plies does not affect the operational safety of the vehicles. 
Further, Hankook states, the subject tires correctly label the number 
of steel plies, alleviating the safety concern for the tire retread, 
repair, and recycling industries.''
    Hankook argues 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.
    Hankook's complete petition and all supporting documents are 
available by logging onto the Federal Docket Management System (FDMS) 
website at: https://www.regulations.gov and by following the online 
search instructions to locate the docket number as listed in the title 
of this notice.

VI. Public Comment

    NHTSA received one comment from the general public regarding 
Hankook's petition from Mr. Bruce Grim.\1\ Mr. Grim stated that 
although mislabeling a tire sidewall may seem inconsequential, for some 
in the industry it is still an important aspect of safety for 
consumers. He suggested that the public is not sufficiently notified at 
the point of sale of the potential perils or hazards due to the subject 
noncompliance. Mr. Grim also states that in the event of a recall, it 
is important that retailers and consumers can identify the subject 
tires.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ See https://www.regulations.gov/comment/NHTSA-2020-0020-0003.
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VII. NHTSA's Analysis

A. General Principles

    An important issue to consider in determining inconsequentiality is 
the safety risk to individuals who experience the type of event against 
which the recall would otherwise protect.\2\ In general, NHTSA does not 
consider the absence of complaints or injuries to show that the issue 
is inconsequential to safety. ``Most importantly, the absence of a 
complaint does not mean there have not been any safety issues, nor does 
it mean that there will not be safety issues in the future.'' \3\ 
``[T]he fact that in past reported cases good luck and swift reaction 
have prevented many serious injuries does not mean that good luck will 
continue to work.'' \4\
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    \2\ See Gen. Motors, LLC; Grant of Petition for Decision of 
Inconsequential Noncompliance, 78 FR 35355 (June 12, 2013) (finding 
noncompliance had no effect on occupant safety because it had no 
effect on the proper operation of the occupant classification system 
and the correct deployment of an air bag); Osram Sylvania Prods. 
Inc.; Grant of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential 
Noncompliance, 78 FR 46000 (July 30, 2013) (finding occupant using 
noncompliant light source would not be exposed to significantly 
greater risk than occupant using similar compliant light source).
    \3\ Morgan 3 Wheeler Limited; Denial of Petition for Decision of 
Inconsequential Noncompliance, 81 FR 21663, 21666 (Apr. 12, 2016).
    \4\ United States v. Gen. Motors Corp., 565 F.2d 754, 759 (D.C. 
Cir. 1977) (finding defect poses an unreasonable risk when it 
``results in hazards as potentially dangerous as sudden engine fire, 
and where there is no dispute that at least some such hazards, in 
this case fires, can definitely be expected to occur in the 
future'').
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Arguments that only a small number of vehicles or items of motor 
vehicle equipment are affected have also not justified granting an 
inconsequentiality petition.\5\ Similarly, NHTSA has rejected petitions 
based on the assertion that only a small percentage of vehicles or 
items of equipment are likely to actually exhibit a noncompliance. The 
percentage of potential occupants that could be adversely affected by a 
noncompliance does not determine the question of inconsequentiality. 
Rather, the issue to consider is the consequence to an occupant who is 
exposed to the consequence of that noncompliance.\6\
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    \5\ See Mercedes-Benz, U.S.A., L.L.C.; Denial of Application for 
Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance, 66 FR 38342 (July 23, 
2001) (rejecting argument that noncompliance was inconsequential 
because of the small number of vehicles affected); Aston Martin 
Lagonda Ltd.; Denial of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential 
Noncompliance, 81 FR 41370 (June 24, 2016) (noting that situations 
involving individuals trapped in motor vehicles--while infrequent--
are consequential to safety); Morgan 3 Wheeler Ltd.; Denial of 
Petition for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance, 81 FR 21663, 
21664 (Apr. 12, 2016) (rejecting argument that petition should be 
granted because the vehicle was produced in very low numbers and 
likely to be operated on a limited basis).
    \6\ See Gen. Motors Corp.; Ruling on Petition for Determination 
of Inconsequential Noncompliance, 69 FR 19897, 19900 (Apr. 14, 
2004); Cosco Inc.; Denial of Application for Decision of 
Inconsequential Noncompliance, 64 FR 29408, 29409 (June 1, 1999).
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B. NHTSA's Response to Hankook's Petition

    NHTSA has evaluated the merits of the inconsequential noncompliance 
petition submitted by the petitioner and agrees that, based on the 
facts presented, this specific noncompliance of the subject tires is 
inconsequential to motor vehicle safety. The Agency considered the 
following prior to making this determination:
    1. Operational Safety & Performance: NHTSA agrees that in this 
case, the incorrect number of nylon plies labeled on the tire has no 
effect on the operational safety of vehicles when the affected tires 
meet the other performance and labeling requirements of the applicable 
FMVSS.
    2. Tire Identification and Traceability: The tires have the 
required information per 49 CFR 574.5 to ensure that the tires may be 
properly registered for the purposes of a safety recall. The entire 
TIN, including the plant code and manufacturing date is both legible 
and easily discernible.
    3. Downstream Operations: The Agency must also consider other 
stakeholders, in addition to the manufacturer and end-user. Downstream 
entities involved in tire repair, retreading, and recycling operations 
require certain information to determine if tires may be safely used in 
their operations. The existence of steel in a tire's sidewall and tread 
can be relevant to the manner in which it should be repaired or 
retreaded. The use of steel cord construction in the sidewall and tread 
is the primary safety concern of these industries. The Agency believes 
the noncompliance of the subject tires will have no measurable effect 
on the safety of the tire retread, repair, and recycling industries 
since the tire sidewalls are marked correctly for the number of steel 
plies.
    4. Consumer Feedback and Focus Groups: The Agency has concluded, 
based on previous feedback, that the tire construction information, 
specifically the number of plies and cord material in the sidewall and 
tread plies, influences very few consumers when they are deciding to 
buy a motor vehicle or replacement tires. This conclusion is based on 
information gathered from the Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking 
(ANPRM) that was published in the Federal Register on December 1, 2000, 
(65 FR 75222).
    5. Public Comments: In response to Mr. Grim's comments, the Agency 
agrees that the safety of the end-users is a priority and has taken 
that into consideration when analyzing this petition. Furthermore, the 
Agency agrees that the user's ability to identify a tire in the event 
of a recall is important and finds nothing in the facts of this 
petition that would impede tire identification of the subject tires in 
the event of a recall.
    In summary, the Agency believes that the specific incorrect 
labeling of the tire construction information present in this instance 
will have an inconsequential effect on motor vehicle safety or any 
related downstream tire repair, retread, or recycling operations.

[[Page 3380]]

VIII. NHTSA's Decision

    In consideration of the foregoing, NHTSA finds that Hankook has met 
its burden of persuasion that the subject FMVSS No. 139 noncompliance 
in the affected tires is inconsequential to motor vehicle safety. 
Accordingly, Hankook's petition is hereby granted and Hankook 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 Hankook 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 Hankook 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)

Otto G. Matheke, III,
Director, Office of Vehicle Safety Compliance.
[FR Doc. 2022-01133 Filed 1-20-22; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-59-P