WASHINGTON (Sept. 22, 2003) — A safety research group with ties to plaintiffs' attorneys has told the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that it should consider establishing expiration dates for tires.
Tire aging is a little understood problem outside the tire industry, Strategic Safety L.L.C. said in comments to the NHTSA docket, yet the United Kingdom's Tire Industry Safety Council urges motorists to replace all tires over 10 years old and not to use unused tires more than six years old. “U.S. consumers have never been provided with this warning, yet we are aware of a number of deaths and injuries caused by this problem in the U.S.,” said Sean Kane, partner for tires at Strategic Safety.
A spokesman for the Rubber Manufacturers Association said the issue is not as cut-and-dried as Strategic Safety would have it. “It's certainly an interesting issue for debate, but it's not so easy to say that tires can only last X-number of years, because of issues such as different compounding and consumer maintenance,” he said.