WASHINGTONThe Rubber Manufacturers Association is proposing a four-point plan to help improve motorist safety that includes a return to mandatory tire registration and a broader ban on the sale of unsafe used tires.
The RMA made its proposals public Dec. 9 during the recent National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Passenger Vehicle Tire Safety Symposium in Washington (See related story on page 1).
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 next year:
c Improve tire registrationCongress should change the tire registration law to require tire sellers to register tires electronically 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 less than 20 percent of all tires are registered.
c TIN lookup toolThe 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. Tire manufacturers and importers of record must notify NHTSA of any tire recalls, the RMA said, but these submissions entered into a government database are not easily accessible or searchable by tire dealers or consumers.
c Stop sales of unsafe used tiresStates should enact legislation to prohibit the sale of unsafe used tires, the RMA stated, noting that more than 30 million used tires become available for sale each year. Worn-out, damaged and improperly repaired tires are readily available from used tire shops across the nation, said the RMA, which plans to advocate in at least four states in 2015 legislation about unsafe used tires.
c Urge states to help motorists be tire smartStates should incorporate tire care and maintenance messages into their highway safety programs. States should issue reminders during periods of heavy travel as well as mandate the use of roadside signs and other credible communication tools available when possible.
We believe that these four common-sense steps can have a positive effect on highway and motor vehicle safety, said Dan Zielinski, RMA senior vice president.
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.