WASHINGTON-Two Pennsylvania highway agencies have petitioned the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for an investigation of scrap rubber on the side of roads and have asked for regulations designed to reduce it. While NHTSA has not yet answered the Pennsylvania authorities, the Maintenance Council of the American Trucking Associations has formed in response a task force to consider the issue.
Dated Oct. 5, 1994, the Pennsylvania petition was signed by then-state Transportation Secretary Howard Yerusalim and state Police Commissioner Glenn A. Walp. It asked NHTSA to ``develop and adopt regulations which reduce the potential for tread separation and casing failure from new or recap truck tires.''
Such regulations, the petition said, should ``insure the stability of reused casings throughout the life of the tire. This may require establishing a maximum life of casings.'' They also should be issued in tandem with safeguards to minimize the potential of truck rims to separate from moving trucks.
The petitioners said they have noticed an increasing number of separated truck tire treads on Pennsylvania roads.
``Other vehicles, particularly passenger cars, pickup trucks, vans and motorcycles, may hit them, lose control and have a crash,'' they said. ``Our officers and maintenance personnel are put in a very vulnerable position when they must remove portions of a tire from the travelway or roadside.''
The Maintenance Council is inviting representatives of the new tire, retread and trucking industries to participate in its task force ``to determine the extent of the `rubber on the road' problem, its causes and solutions and communicate this information to truck tire users as well as state governments and vehicle inspection agencies,'' said Peggy Fisher, Roadway Tire Co. president and chairman of the council's Tire & Wheel Study Group.
The task force's organizational meeting to define and set its action plan is scheduled for June 6 at the Airport Holiday Inn, Columbus, Ohio, according to Ms. Fisher. All interested parties are invited to attend.