inconsequential determination

NHTSA Grants Petition for Inconsequential Determination

Steven Bergman

January 2015

Richards Brandt clients China Manufacturers Alliance, LLC (“CMA”) and Double Coin Holdings Ltd Obtain Favorable Outcome on Petition for Inconsequential Determination Before the National Highway Safety Traffic Administration (“NHTSA”).

Double Coin is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of truck, industrial, and off-the-road tires.  CMA is the North American subsidiary of Double Coin. In late May of 2014, NHTSA’s Office of Defects and Investigations notified CMA that two of the Double Coin model tires it was selling did not includeTruck Tire Code
a load range symbol. The Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (“FMVSS”) No. 119 establishes strength, performance, endurance standards for truck tires, as well as marking requirements. Among the ten marking requirements is inclusion of a load range symbol.

CMA and Double Coin submitted a noncompliance report. We then helped CMA and Double Coin prepare a petition for inconsequential determination seeking exemption from the remedy provisions of the Motor Vehicle Safety Act. CMA and Double Coin also commenced an internal review of all tires being sold. From this review, CMA and Double Coin determined that additional tire models were missing the load range symbol, and CMA and Double Coin took the necessary steps to ensure that going forward all Double Coin tires had the load range symbol.

CMA and Double Coin then submitted a revised noncompliance report and we worked with CMA and Double Coin on a revised petition for inconsequential determination to cover all tire models at issue. NHTSA published CMA and Double Coin’s Petition on September 14, 2014. See 79 Fed. Reg. 55068. In the Petition, we argued that the missing load range symbol was inconsequential to motor vehicle safety because Double Coin tires meet or exceed the strength, endurance and performance standards of FMVSS No. 119 and because the information conveyed by the load range symbol was included on all Double Coin tires by Double Coin’s optional inclusion of a load index symbol and ply rating on each tire. Additionally, all Double Coin tires, consistent with the marking requirements of FMVSS No. 119 contained appropriate maximum load/maximum pressure information. After considering CMA and Double Coin’s Petition, NHTSA agreed, granted the Petition, and exempted CMA and Double Coin from the remedy provisions of the Motor Vehicle Safety Act. See 79 Fed. Reg. 78562.

Contact me for more information or questions on this or other regulatory or product liability matters at 801.531.2000 or steven-bergman@rbmn.com.