[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 7 (Thursday, January 10, 2013)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 2236-2239]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-00315]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

49 CFR Part 571

[Docket No. NHTSA-2010-0132]
RIN 2127-AK17


Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards; New Pneumatic Tires for 
Motor Vehicles With a GVWR of More Than 4,536 Kilograms (10,000 Pounds) 
and Motorcycles

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

ACTION: Supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking (SNPRM).

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SUMMARY: This document proposes several minor amendments to Federal 
Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 119 to revise the formatting 
and replace a missing footnote in Table II. FMVSS No. 119 was amended 
in a final rule published on June 26, 2003 as part of a comprehensive 
upgrade of several FMVSSs to improve tire safety, as required by the 
Transportation Recall Enhancement, Accountability, and Documentation 
(TREAD) Act of 2000. The agency believes that this proposed revision is 
appropriate to correct minor oversights made in the June 2003 final 
rule for FMVSS No. 119.

DATES: Submit comments on or before March 11, 2013.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments electronically to the docket 
identified in the heading of this document by visiting the following 
Web site:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the online instructions for submitting 
comments.
    Alternatively, you can file comments using the following methods:
     Mail: Docket Management Facility: U.S. Department of 
Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., West Building Ground Floor, 
Room W12-140, Washington, DC 20590-0001.
     Hand Delivery or Courier: West Building Ground Floor, Room 
W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET, 
Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.
     Fax: (202) 493-2251.
    Regardless of how you submit your comments, you should mention the 
docket number identified in the heading of this document.
    Instructions: For detailed instructions on submitting comments and 
additional information on the rulemaking process, see the Public 
Participation heading of the Supplementary Information section of this 
document. Note that all comments received will be posted without change 
to http://www.regulations.gov, including any personal information 
provided. Please see the Privacy Act heading below.
    Privacy Act: Anyone is able to search the electronic form of all 
comments received into any of our dockets by the name of the individual 
submitting the comment (or signing the comment, if submitted on behalf 
of an association, business, labor union, etc.). You may review DOT's 
complete Privacy Act Statement in the Federal Register published on 
April 11, 2000 (65 FR 19477-78).
    Docket: For access to the docket to read background documents or 
comments received, go to http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the online 
instructions for accessing the dockets.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For technical issues, you may contact 
Abigail Morgan, Office of Crash Avoidance Standards (Telephone: 202-
366-6005; Fax: 202-493-2990). For legal issues, you may contact David 
Jasinski, Office of the Chief Counsel (Telephone: 202-366-2992; Fax: 
202-366-3820). You may send mail to both of these officials at the 
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 1200 New Jersey Avenue 
SE., Washington, DC 20590.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Background

    Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 119, New 
pneumatic tires for motor vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating 
(GVWR) of more than 4,536 kilograms (10,000 pounds) and motorcycles, 
specifies tire

[[Page 2237]]

performance requirements, including a strength test. When FMVSS No. 119 
was established in 1973, it adopted the strength test from FMVSS No. 
109.\1\ The strength test in FMVSS No. 109, originally issued in 1967, 
was adopted from the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) Recommended 
Practice J918b--Passenger Car Tire Performance Requirements and Test 
Procedures (January 1967).2, 3 As part of the strength test, 
a plunger is driven into a tire. The tire must not be punctured before 
a minimum energy value is reached.
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    \1\ See FMVSS No. 119 Proposed Motor Vehicle Safety Standard, 37 
FR 13481 (Jul. 8, 1972).
    \2\ See FMVSS No. 109 Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, 32 
FR 2417 (Feb. 3, 1967).
    \3\ SAE is an organization that develops voluntary standards for 
aerospace, automotive, and other industries. Many of SAE's 
recommended practices are developed using technical information 
supplied by vehicle manufacturers and automotive test laboratories.
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    The tire strength test was designed to evaluate the strength of the 
reinforcing materials in bias ply tires, typically rayon, nylon, or 
polyester, and it continues to serve a purpose for these tires. Today, 
bias tires have been almost completely replaced by radial tires in the 
U.S.; however, a small market for bias tires still remains.
    The breaking energy requirements established in the SAE J918b tire 
strength test were higher for nylon and polyester cord tires than for 
rayon cord tires in order to ensure that the strength test stringency 
was comparable for different tire cord materials.\4\ As a result, when 
the FMVSS No. 119 strength test was established, Table II was 
accompanied by the note: ``For rayon cord tires, applicable energy 
values are 60 percent of those in the table.'' \5\
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    \4\ See SAE Recommended Practice J918b--Passenger Car Tire 
Performance Requirements and Test Procedures (January 1967) Section 
3.1.
    \5\ FMVSS No. 119 Final Rule, 38 FR 31302 (Nov. 13, 1973).
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    In 1998, NHTSA revised FMVSS No. 119 by providing equivalent metric 
conversions to the standard's English measurements.\6\ The following 
sentence was added as a footnote to the table to explain the metric 
conversions stating: ``J measurements are rounded down to the nearest 
whole number.''
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    \6\ See 68 FR 28912 (May 27, 1998).
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    In the 1998 notice, some errors were made in the Table II headings. 
The agency attempted to correct the headings in 2003; however, there 
were several issues with the reprinted Table II.\7\ Many of the minimum 
static breaking energy values were inadvertently omitted from the 
table. Additionally, the two footnotes were not printed with the table.
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    \7\ See 68 FR 38166 (Jun. 26, 2003).
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    In 2007, the headings and content of Table II were corrected in a 
Federal Register notice, but again the footnotes were not printed with 
the table.\8\
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    \8\ See 72 FR 49207 (Aug. 28, 2007). When Table II, as revised 
in 2007, was reprinted in the Code of Federal Regulations, the 
values in the table were printed incorrectly. The table was recently 
corrected in a Federal Register notice published on September 6, 
2012. See 77 FR 54836.
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    In 2010, NHTSA issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that 
proposed an upgrade to FMVSS No. 119.\9\ Although the agency proposed 
several technical corrections to FMVSS No. 119 in the 2010 NPRM, the 
NPRM did not include any changes to Table II.
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    \9\ 75 FR 60036 (Sept. 29, 2010).
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II. Proposed Correction to Table II and Formatting Change

    In May 2012, Continental Tire of the Americas (Continental) 
contacted NHTSA to inquire about the tire strength test requirements 
for rayon cord tires, because they noted the omission of the above-
mentioned footnote in Table II, which specified a lower breaking energy 
requirement for rayon cord tires. After looking into Continental's 
question, NHTSA has determined that two footnotes for Table II of FMVSS 
No. 119 were inadvertently removed from the standard. Due to the length 
of time that has passed since the footnotes were removed in 2003, the 
agency decided to issue this Supplemental Notice of Proposed Rulemaking 
(SNPRM) to reinstate one of the footnotes. The other footnote does not 
need to be reinstated.
    This SNPRM proposes to reinstate the missing footnote for Table II 
related to the breaking energy requirements for rayon cord tires, which 
reads as follows: ``For rayon cord tires, applicable energy values are 
60 percent of those in table.'' This footnote was present in FMVSS No. 
119 from when the standard was first issued in 1973 until it was 
inadvertently omitted in 2003.
    The breaking energy requirement for rayon cord tires is less than 
other materials to make the severity of the test comparable to tires 
made of other cord materials. The breaking energy requirement for rayon 
cord tires for light vehicles in FMVSS No. 109 remain less than the 
requirement for nylon or polyester cord tires. The agency can determine 
whether a tire is composed of rayon cord from information that is 
required by S6.5(f) of FMVSS No. 119 to be molded on the tire's 
sidewall.
    The agency is not proposing the replacement of the footnote for 
Table II related to rounding. When NHTSA added metric conversions to 
FMVSS No. 119 in 1998, the agency's principle for converting English 
system measurements to the metric system favored equivalent 
conversions, not exact ones.\10\ The footnote to Table II stating that 
measurements in joules were rounded down to the nearest whole number 
merely reflected this principle. The agency no longer believes that a 
footnote explaining the rounding procedure is necessary in the 
regulatory text.
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    \10\ 63 FR 28912.
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    The agency is also proposing three non-substantive formatting 
changes to Table II in this SNPRM. First, some of the headings have 
been revised to more clearly explain the tire characteristics. Second, 
the heading row alignment has been modified. Third, the order of the 
columns in the right portion of the table for tires other than light 
truck, motorcycle, and 12 rim diameter code or smaller has been 
modified to group tube type and tubeless tires together. The agency 
believes that these formatting changes will make Table II easier to 
read.

III. Technical Corrections

    We have discovered an error in the descriptions of the formula for 
computing the breaking energy of a tire in metric located in S7.3(f) of 
FMVSS No. 119. In S7.3(f)(1), the breaking energy (W) is reported in 
joules (J); however, the explanation incorrectly states the unit 
abbreviation for joules as kJ, which is the abbreviation for 
kilojoules. In S7.3(f)(2), unit abbreviations are not included in the 
explanation and the breaking energy equation formatting is inconsistent 
with S7.3(f)(1). We are proposing to correct these errors.

IV. Public Participation

How do I prepare and submit comments?

    Your comments must be written and in English. To ensure that your 
comments are correctly filed in the Docket, please include the docket 
number of this document in your comments.
    Your comments must not be more than 15 pages long (49 CFR 553.21). 
We established this limit to encourage you to write your primary 
comments in a concise fashion. However, you may attach necessary 
additional documents to your comments. There is no limit on the length 
of the attachments.
    Please submit your comments electronically to the docket following 
the steps outlined under ADDRESSES.

[[Page 2238]]

You may also submit two copies of your comments, including the 
attachments, by mail to Docket Management at the beginning of this 
document, under ADDRESSES.

How can I be sure that my comments were received?

    If you wish Docket Management to notify you upon its receipt of 
your comments, enclose a self-addressed, stamped postcard in the 
envelope containing your comments. Upon receiving your comments, Docket 
Management will return the postcard by mail.

How do I submit confidential business information?

    If you wish to submit any information under a claim of 
confidentiality, you should submit the following to the NHTSA Office of 
Chief Counsel (NCC-110), 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 
20590: (1) A complete copy of the submission; (2) a redacted copy of 
the submission with the confidential information removed; and (3) 
either a second complete copy or those portions of the submission 
containing the material for which confidential treatment is claimed and 
any additional information that you deem important to the Chief 
Counsel's consideration of your confidentiality claim. A request for 
confidential treatment that complies with 49 CFR part 512 must 
accompany the complete submission provided to the Chief Counsel. For 
further information, submitters who plan to request confidential 
treatment for any portion of their submissions are advised to review 49 
CFR part 512, particularly those sections relating to document 
submission requirements. Failure to adhere to the requirements of Part 
512 may result in the release of confidential information to the public 
docket. In addition, you should submit two copies from which you have 
deleted the claimed confidential business information, to Docket 
Management at the address given at the beginning of this document under 
ADDRESSES.

Will the agency consider late comments?

    We will consider all comments that submitted to the docket before 
the close of business on the comment closing date indicated at the 
beginning of this notice under DATES. In accordance with our policies, 
to the extent possible, we will also consider comments received after 
the specified comment closing date. If we receive a comment too late 
for us to consider in developing the proposed rule, we will consider 
that comment as an informal suggestion for future rulemaking action.

How can I read the comments submitted by other people?

    You may read the comments received on the Internet. To read the 
comments on the Internet, go to http://www.regulations.gov and follow 
the on-line instructions provided.
    You may download the comments. The comments are imaged documents, 
in either TIFF or PDF format. Please note that even after the comment 
closing date, we will continue to file relevant information in the 
Docket as it becomes available. Further, some people may submit late 
comments. Accordingly, we recommend that you periodically search the 
Docket for new material.
    You may also read the comments at the address and times given near 
the beginning of this document under ADDRESSES.

V. Rulemaking Analyses and Notices

A. Executive Order 12866, Executive Order 13563, and DOT Regulatory 
Policies and Procedures

    NHTSA has considered the impact of this rulemaking action under 
Executive Order 12866, Executive Order 13563, and the Department of 
Transportation's regulatory policies and procedures. This rulemaking is 
not considered significant and was not reviewed by the Office of 
Management and Budget under E.O. 12866, ``Regulatory Planning and 
Review.'' The rulemaking action has also been determined not to be 
significant under the Department's regulatory policies and procedures.
    This SNPRM would impose no costs upon tire manufacturers. If 
adopted, the changes proposed in this SNPRM would correct minor errors 
to Table II of FMVSS No. 119. These changes would impose no costs on 
manufacturers, nor do we expect that these changes would result in 
quantifiable benefits. For information on the costs and benefits of the 
proposed upgrade to FMVSS No. 119, please see the September 29, 2010 
NPRM \11\ and the accompanying Preliminary Regulatory Evaluation.\12\
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    \11\ 75 FR 60036.
    \12\ See Docket No. NHTSA-2010-0132-0002.
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B. Other Rulemaking Analyses and Notices

    For information on the Regulatory Flexibility Act, Executive Order 
13132 (Federalism), the National Technology Transfer and Advancement 
Act, the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act, the National Environmental 
Policy Act, Executive Order 12988 (Civil Justice Reform), and the 
Paperwork Reduction Act, related to the agency's proposed upgrade to 
FMVSS No. 119, please see the September 29, 2010 NPRM.\13\ As this 
SNPRM proposes only to unintentional errors to Table II and make 
technical corrections, it will not have any effect on the agency's 
analysis in those areas.
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    \13\ 75 FR 60036.
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C. Regulatory Identifier Number (RIN)

    The Department of Transportation assigns a regulation identifier 
number (RIN) to each regulatory action listed in the Unified Agenda of 
Federal Regulations. The Regulatory Information Service Center 
publishes the Unified Agenda in April and October of each year. You may 
use the RIN contained in the heading at the beginning of this document 
to find this action in the Unified Agenda.

D. Privacy Act

    Anyone is able to search the electronic form of all comments 
received into any of our dockets by the name of the individual 
submitting the comment (or signing the comment, if submitted on behalf 
of an association, business, labor union, etc.). You may review DOT's 
complete Privacy Act Statement in the Federal Register published on 
April 11, 2000 (65 FR 19477-78).

List of Subjects in 49 CFR Part 571

    Imports, Motor vehicle safety, Reporting and recordkeeping 
requirements, Tires.

    In consideration of the foregoing, NHTSA proposes to amend 49 CFR 
part 571 as follows:

PART 571--FEDERAL MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY STANDARDS

0
1. The authority citation for part 571 of Title 49 continues to read as 
follows:

    Authority:  49 U.S.C. 322, 30111, 30115, 30117, and 30166; 
delegation of authority at 49 CFR 1.95.

0
2. Amend section 571.119 by revising paragraphs S7.3(f)(1), S7.3(f)(2) 
and Table II to read as follows:


Sec.  571.119  Standard No. 119; New pneumatic tires for motor vehicles 
with a GVWR of more than 4,536 kilograms (10,000 pounds) and 
motorcycles.

* * * * *
    S7.3 * * *
    (f) * * *

(1) W = [(F x P)/2] x 10-\3\

Where:

W = Breaking energy in joules (J),
F = Force in newtons (N), and
P = Penetration in millimeters (mm), or;

(2) W = (F x P)/2


[[Page 2239]]


Where:

W = Breaking energy in inch-pounds (in-lb),
F = Force in pounds (lb), and
P = Penetration in inches (in).

* * * * *

                                                        Table II--Minimum Static Breaking Energy
                                                          [Joules (J) and Inch-Pounds (in-lb)]
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         Tire characteristic            Motorcycle      All 12 rim     Tubeless 17.5  Tires other than light truck, motorcycle, 12 rim diameter  code or
-----------------------------------------------------  diameter code   rim diameter                                 smaller
                                                        or smaller        code or    -------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                          except        smaller and    Tube type greater  than 12 rim    Tubeless greater  than 17.5 rim
                                       7.94     \5/     motorcycle     light  truck             diameter code                     diameter code
  Plunger diameter  (mm and inches)     mm     16\'' ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                       19.05    \3/    19.05    \3/    31.75    1\1/    38.10    1\1/    31.75    1\1/    38.10    1\1/
                                                        mm     4\''     mm     4\''     mm      4\''     mm      2\''     mm      4\''     mm      2\''
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Breaking energy                            J   in-lb       J   in-lb       J   in-lb       J    in-lb       J    in-lb       J    in-lb       J    in-lb
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Load Range:
    A...............................      16     150      67     600     225   2,000  ......  .......  ......  .......  ......  .......  ......  .......
    B...............................      33     300     135   1,200     293   2,600  ......  .......  ......  .......  ......  .......  ......  .......
    C...............................      45     400     203   1,800     361   3,200     768    6,800  ......  .......     576    5,100  ......  .......
    D...............................  ......  ......     271   2,400     514   4,550     892    7,900  ......  .......     734    6,500  ......  .......
    E...............................  ......  ......     338   3,000     576   5,100   1,412   12,500  ......  .......     971    8,600  ......  .......
    F...............................  ......  ......     406   3,600     644   5,700   1,785   15,800  ......  .......   1,412   12,500  ......  .......
    G...............................  ......  ......  ......  ......     711   6,300  ......  .......   2,282   20,200  ......  .......   1,694   15,000
    H...............................  ......  ......  ......  ......     768   6,800  ......  .......   2,598   23,000  ......  .......   2,090   18,500
    J...............................  ......  ......  ......  ......  ......  ......  ......  .......   2,824   25,000  ......  .......   2,203   19,500
    L...............................  ......  ......  ......  ......  ......  ......  ......  .......   3,050   27,000  ......  .......  ......  .......
    M...............................  ......  ......  ......  ......  ......  ......  ......  .......   3,220   28,500  ......  .......  ......  .......
    N...............................  ......  ......  ......  ......  ......  ......  ......  .......   3,389   30,000  ......  .......  ......  .......
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Note: For rayon cord tires, applicable energy values are 60 percent of those in table.

* * * * *

    Issued on: January 2, 2013.
Christopher J. Bonanti,
Associate Administrator for Rulemaking.
[FR Doc. 2013-00315 Filed 1-9-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-59-P