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RMA Urges NTHSA to Reject Tire Importer’s Petition for Compliance Exemption

(Akron/Tire Review) In a letter addressed to Claude Harris, director of the Office of Vehicle Safety Compliance at National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Laurie Baulig, senior vice president and general counsel for the Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA), opposed a petition sent to NHTSA asking for exemption from certain tire labeling required under the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act (FMVSS 119).

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The petition, sent by the counsel of Union, N.J.-based importer Foreign Tire Sales Inc., seeks exemption from the notification and remedy provisions for approximately 18,900 commercial truck tires that were imported into the U.S. from China in 2005 and 2006. The tires did not carry the required single load designation.

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The tires in question are manufactured by Wendeng Sanfeng Tyre Co. and carry the brand names Danzig and Direction. They are used on container chassis and are bias play, size 10.00-20.

“We submit that the non-compliance with FMVSS 119 is inconsequential,” read the petition sent to the associate administrator for enforcement at NHTSA. “The non-compliance does not implicate safety; it will have no impact on the operational performance of the tires or the vehicles on which they are used. My client is not aware of a single incident resulting in either personal injury or property damage.

“The tires did not set forth load and inflation values for single usage,” according to the petition. The petitioner noted that the tires are marked “dual use only” and “trailer service only” and “are not intended for use anywhere other than a container chassis.”

The petition also stated: “In light of the fact that the tires are clearly marked that they are for ‘dual use only’ and for ‘trailer service only,’ there is no safety issue raised by non-compliance.”

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“According to both NHTSA and the petitioner, the tires fail to comply with labeling regulations that require the sidewall to display the maximum load rating and inflation values for single tire use,” countered Baulig on behalf of RMA. “RMA urges NHTSA to deny this petition.”

The RMA letter reads: “There is no guarantee that the tires may not eventually be placed in a single load application.” Also, the letter stated that the petitioner did not provide evidence that the tires meet the long-term endurance and strength standards of FMVSS 119. “Nor does the docket contain any testing data or other information that would validate petitioner’s assertion that the non-compliance is inconsequential to motor vehicle safety.”

The RMA also noted in the letter that the importer failed to file a timely defect and non-compliance report.

“RMA is concerned that, if the petition is granted without verification of compliance with FMVSS 119 performance standards, the questionable conduct of these importers may continue.”

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