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NHTSA denies Foreign Tire Sales' petition for relief

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A petition from Foreign Tire Sales Inc. asking for relief from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for mis-labeled truck tires has been denied. It affects approximately 18,900 Danzig and Direction bias-ply container chassis tires, size 10.00-20.

The tires, manufactured by China-based Wendeng Sanfeng Tyre Co. Ltd., were imported by FTS between Aug. 2005 and April 2006.

Foreign Tire Sales (FTS) had petitioned NHTSA because the tires in question did not comply with S6.5(d) of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 119, "New Pneumatic Tires For Vehicles Other Than Passenger Cars." It requested an exemption from the standard because the noncompliance was "inconsequential to motor vehicle safety."

In conflict with the requirement, the tire sidewalls were not marked with the maximum load rating and corresponding inflation values for single tire use. (FTS says it has since corrected the problem, so they will not be repeated in future production.)

FTS believed that the noncompliance is inconsequential because there is no safety issue relating to single-use applications because the tires are clearly labeled "DUAL USE ONLY" and "TRAILER SERVICE ONLY."

FTS said its customers "understand that said tires are to be used on container chassis only," and that it has had no safety issues involving the tires which are labeled for dual use only.

NHTSA decided that FTS did not meet its burden of persuasion, and denied its petition. Here is its reasoning, which was aided by public comments from the Rubber Manufacturers Association and Flexi-Van Leasing Inc.

"While petitioner may not intend its non-compliant tires to be used 'anywhere other than a container chassis,' there is no guarantee that the tires may not eventually be placed in a single load application. Indeed, the rationale for requiring the sidewall to be marked with maximum load ratings and inflation values for single and dual applications under FMVSS 119 is precisely that the same tire could be used in either application..."

NHTSA also wrote that it didn't matter whether or not the tires otherwise meet the performance standards of FMVSS 119. "... the question is whether the incorrect marking of the tires may itself have

safety consequences."

To view the petition and all supporting documents and comments

submitted, go to: http://dms.dot.gov/search/searchFormSimple.cfm and enter Docket No. NHTSA-2006-25555.

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