Published on March 17, 2014

RMA to NHTSA: Tire makers don't oppose UTQG, but...

By Miles Moore, Senior Washington Reporter

WASHINGTON (March 17, 2014) — Tire makers don’t oppose an extension of information collection for Uniform Tire Quality Grading (UTQG), the Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA) has told the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

However, NHTSA should consider carefully whether the current information collection for UTQG will remain relevant after the consumer information portions of the tire fuel efficiency standard is finally issued, the RMA said in Jan. 28 comments to the agency.

Under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, all federal agencies must undergo periodic review of their information collection activities to make sure they do not impose an undue burden on responders.

NHTSA announced a review of the information collection activities of UTQG in the Nov. 29 Federal Register, with a 60-day comment period ending Jan. 28. The RMA was the only respondent to the call for comments.

(Rubber Manufacturers Association photo)
Tracey Norberg

The pending labeling and consumer education portions of the tire fuel efficiency final rule, which was issued in March 2010, contains rating requirements for treadwear and wet traction. Those ratings already exist under UTQG, according to the comments signed by Tracey Norberg, RMA senior vice president and general counsel.

The RMA supports the abolition of the UTQG temperature grade and the phased removal of the requirement to mold UTQG traction and treadwear grades into tire sidewalls, according to Ms. Norberg. Immediate repeal of the molding requirement would be prohibitively expensive, so tire makers should be allowed to replace tire molds by attrition over time, she said.

“RMA encourages NHTSA to craft the Tire Information Program rule in such a way that it minimizes or eliminates entirely duplicative UTQG requirements that would not enhance tire ratings and information that are provided to consumers at point of sale,” Ms. Norberg said.

In the March 14 Federal Register NHTSA said it had transferred the UTQG information collection review, along with the RMA’s comment, to the Office of Management and Budget. The OMB is accepting further comments on the matter until April 14.

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To reach this reporter: mmoore@crain.com.

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