Mr. Terry Wagar
State of New York Department of Motor Vehicles
Office of Vehicle Safety and Clean Air
6 Empire State Plaza
Albany, NY 12228
Dear Mr. Wagar:
This responds to your request for our interpretation of whether A. 4687, a legislative bill proposing to amend Section 375-35 of the New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law, would be preempted by federal law. A. 4687 would amend Section 375-35 to prohibit tires from being manufactured, distributed, offered for sale or sold in New York for use on passenger vehicles, multi-purpose passenger vehicles, or light trucks unless a date of manufacture is clearly molded on both sides of the tire in a non-coded fashion. Based on the information you have provided and the analysis below, we believe that the changes proposed to the Vehicle and Traffic Law by A. 4687, would be preempted by federal law.
The National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act, 49 U.S.C. 30103(b), expressly preempts State standards that differ from Federal motor vehicle safety standards in effect under the Act. Section 30103(b) states in relevant part:
When a motor vehicle safety standard is in effect under this chapter, a State or a political subdivision of a State may prescribe or continue in effect a standard applicable to the same aspect of performance of a motor vehicle or motor vehicle equipment only if the standard is identical to the standard prescribed under this chapter.
Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 139, (FMVSS) New Pneumatic Radial Tires for Light Vehicles (49 CFR 571.139), requires each tire to be labeled in the manner specified in Part 574, Tire Identification and Recordkeeping. S5.5.1 of FMVSS No. 139 states that for tires manufactured before September 1, 2009, Each tire must be labeled with the tire identification number required by 49 CFR part 574 on a sidewall of the tire, and that on the other sidewall, the tire must be labeled with either the tire identification number or a partial tire identification number containing all characters . . . except the date code and, at the discretion of the manufacturer, any optional code. S5.5.1(a). For tires manufactured on or after September 1, 2009, the requirements are similar, except that the full tire identification number is required on the intended outboard sidewall of the tire, unless there is no intended outboard sidewall. S5.5.1(b).
Part 574 contains requirements for identifying tire manufacture dates. Under 574.5, Tire identification requirements, tire manufacturers must permanently mold or laser etch into or onto the sidewall of each tire an identification number containing certain information. Among that information is a section with four numerical symbols representing the week and year of manufacture. Section 574.5(d) states in relevant part that:
The first two symbols must identify the week of the year by using 01 for the first full calendar week in each year, 02 for the second full calendar week, and so on. The third and fourth symbols must identify the year. Example: 0101 means the 1st week of 2001, or the week beginning Sunday, January 7, 2001 and ending Saturday, January 13, 2001.
The language of A. 4687 requiring the date to be molded in a non-coded fashion and on both sides of the tire apparently specifies a labeling scheme that is not identical to that required by FMVSS No. 139. Since the State requirement would not be identical to the Federal requirement, we would consider A. 4687s proposed amendment to Section 375-35 of the New York Vehicle and Traffic Law to be preempted under 49 U.S.C. 30103(b).
I hope this information is helpful. If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact Rebecca Schade of my staff at (202) 366-2992.
Anthony M. Cooke
Cc: NCC-110 Subj/Chron
S:\INTERP\574\07-004353--21 Aug 07--rls.doc
 A. 4687, 230th Sess. (N.Y. 2007), at 2, lines 1-4.