WASHINGTON (June 10, 2002) — The Specialty Equipment Market Association is supporting small independent tire makers Denman Tire Corp., Hoosier Racing Tire Corp. and Specialty Tires of America Inc. in efforts to obtain relief from proposed new federal tire testing regulations.
SEMA is an automotive aftermarket trade association comprising 5,100 mostly small businesses. It told NHTSA in a June 5 letter that the specialty tire industry's “unchallenged safety record, limited production and unique use of specialty aftermarket bias-ply and radial tires justifies continued compliance with the existing tire standards” of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard Nos. 109 and 119.
“…NHTSA cannot justify subjecting these small specialty tire manufacturers to overarching new regulations that will eliminate bias-ply tires, and, at a minimum, severely curtail production of specialty radial tires without either evidence of a safety problem or conclusive proof that the design of these tires are substandard for their current applications,” SEMA said.
SEMA's comments focus on whether it is necessary to update the tire performance standards as they apply to small production runs of specialty aftermarket bias-ply and radial tires.
With respect to safety, SEMA said it “strongly” recommends that the proposed rule focus on proven safety-related defects (or lack thereof) in the production or use of specialty bias-ply or radial tires.
The association also voiced its concerns that any new regulations not place an overwhelming burden on the small business economy. In this case, it would include not only the small tire manufacturers already identified, but also their product warehousers and distributors, as well as installation shops, retail outlets and end consumers.