WASHINGTON (Dec. 9, 2014) — The Rubber Manufacturers Association is proposing a four-point plan to help improve motorist safety that includes improved tire registration procedures and a ban on the sale of "unsafe" used tires.
The RMA made its proposals public today during the first day of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB)'s Passenger Vehicle Tire Safety Symposium in Washington.
The RMA offered four steps for the NTSB to include as recommendations when the agency finalizes a report on its study of tire-related issues later next year:
- Improve tire registration: Congress should change the current tire registration law to require tire sellers to electronically register tires at point of sale. Current law only requires dealers to offer a paper card to consumers who must then mail the information to the tire manufacturer. Tire registration is a critical safety issue that allows consumers to be notified by a tire manufacturer in the event of a recall, the RMA said, noting that fewer than 20 percent of all tires are registered.
- TIN lookup tool: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) should create a web-based tool that tire dealers and consumers could use to quickly determine whether a tire is subject to a recall. A search tool would be based on the tire brand, model and Tire Identification Number (TIN) that is molded onto the tire sidewall. Currently, all tire manufacturers or importers of record must notify NHTSA of any tire recalls. Manufacturer submissions are entered into a government database but not easily utilized by tire dealers or consumers, RMA said.
- Stop sales of unsafe used tires: States should enact legislation to prohibit the sale of unsafe used tires, the RMA said, noting that more than 30 million used tires become available for sale each year. Worn-out, damaged, improperly repaired tires are readily available from used tire shops across the nation, said the RMA, which is advocating state unsafe used tire legislation in at least four states in 2015. RMA efforts secured unsafe used tire legislation in Colorado in 2014.
- Urge states to help motorists be tire smart: States should incorporate tire care and maintenance messages into highway safety programs. States should issue reminders during periods of heavy travel periods; use of roadside signs and other credible communication tools available should be used by states when possible.
“We believe that these four common-sense steps can have a positive effect on highway and motor vehicle safety,” Dan Zielinski, senior vice president, said.
Over the past several years, NHTSA crash statistics show that tire related crashes, injuries and fatalities have dropped dramatically and faster than overall highway crashes, injuries and fatalities.
“Tires are critical vehicle safety equipment and they are delivering superior performance to consumers,” Mr. Zielinski said. “We want motorists to understand that maintenance is vital to safety performance and the industry will continue to work to educate consumers about proper tire care.”