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UN group could vote on global tire standard in Nov.

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WASHINGTON (April 22, 2014) — A United Nations-sponsored group could vote as early as this November on a global technical regulation (GTR) for light vehicle tires if conferees can reach agreement on the final text, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said recently.

The activity toward a GTR on light vehicle tires is part of the World Forum for the Harmonization of Vehicle Regulations (WP-29), sponsored by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE).

The informal working group for a light vehicle tire GTR has been meeting periodically since September 2006, NHTSA said in an April 16 Federal Register notice summarizing WP-29 activities.

The light vehicle tire GTR, the agency said, would apply to radial passenger and light truck tires for use on vehicles with a gross weight of 10,000 pounds or less. France is the sponsor of this activity, and the United Kingdom chairs it, NHTSA said.

Provisions for the tire GTR include five mandatory performance and rating requirements: tire sidewall markings, tire dimensions, high-speed performance, low pressure and endurance performance and wet traction performance.

There also are, according to NHTSA, two optimal modules: One contains tire strength and tire bead unseating resistance tests; the other contains a tire rolling sound emission test.

During development of the GTR, the working group determined that the light truck tire requirements would take longer to develop, so it decided to complete the work in two phases, NHTSA said.

The Rubber Manufacturers Association urged a vote on the GTR in November 2013, but NHTSA said the working group decided to postpone it because of an outstanding issue involving the validation of a trailer-based method for evaluating wet traction performance.

However, U.S. research on that issue should conclude by mid-2014, putting WP-29 on line for a November 2014 vote on the GTR, it said.

The light vehicle tire GTR is one of six under development in the WP-29. The others are pedestrian safety, head restraints, quiet electric and hybrid-electric vehicles, electric vehicles and pole side impact protection with harmonized side impact dummies.

NHTSA invited public comments on all the WP-29 activities, including the light vehicle tire GTR. If NHTSA adopts a final rule based on any GTR emanating from the WP-29, it will be in accordance with U.S. law and only after careful consideration of public comments, the agency said.

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