WASHINGTON—The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has canceled plans to collaborate with the trucking and tire industries on a truck tire safety study this summer. The study, a joint undertaking of NHTSA and The Maintenance Council (TMC) of the American Trucking Associations, was to have examined the roles of high speeds and underinflation in truck tire failures.
Eight weeks of testing were to have begun in mid-June at the Transportation Research Center in central Ohio. NHTSA had earmarked $100,000 for funding, with several tire companies donating tires and personnel to oversee the tests.
``We didn't know where the study was going,'' said NHTSA's Jim Britell, explaining why the agency decided to drop out. ``In tires, that usually leads to more questions and more money.''
Also, in last year's Department of Transportation budget, Congress mandated a report to be done this year on run-flat tires, and NHTSA must give priority to that, Mr. Britell said.
TMC members were surprised at the study's cancellation and confused by the agency's reasoning.
``All the tire folks as well as TMC spent a lot of time designing the test,'' said Al Cohn, marketing manager for commercial systems engineering at Goodyear.
``I think the parameters of the test were well-defined.''
``This is a disappointment,'' said David Laubie, director of engineering for Bridgestone/Firestone Inc.
``It's a shame they've canceled it," he continued. "We would have gotten some good baseline data that would have been really useful to the entire industry.''
Mr. Laubie said he had suggested to TMC Chairman Peggy Fisher, former president of Roadway Tire Co., and others that the American Trucking Associations and the tire companies might fund the study privately.