WASHINGTON (Dec. 2, 2015) — The House-Senate conference report for the federal transportation bill, which includes mandatory point-of-sale tire registration, has been released to both houses, which are expected to vote on the bill this week.
The legislation (H.R. 22) — the Developing a Reliable and Innovative Vision for the Economy (DRIVE) Act — is a five-year, $325 million surface transportation reauthorization bill that includes a controversial amendment dealing with tire registration.
The conference bill retains three provisions, under the Tire Efficiency, Safety and Registration (TESR) Act section, advocated by the Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA):
- Tire registration at point of sale — H.R. 22 would require tire sellers to register tires to help boost registration rates and improve the ability of tire manufacturers to directly notify consumers of a tire recall, according to the RMA.
However, the Tire Industry Association (TIA) claims the provision would force independent tire dealers back to an archaic, pencil-and-paper registration system that ended in 1982. It would shift the time and expense of registration unfairly to independent dealers; force them to turn over their sales lists to tire makers just as those manufacturers begin online tire sales; and leave independent dealers liable to fines of up to $1,000 per tire or $700,000 per location for failure to register tires, according to TIA.
- Require the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to create a consumer-friendly online tire recall search tool using tire identification numbers (TINs).
- Minimum tire performance standards for tire fuel efficiency and wet traction — H.R.22 establishes a minimum tire fuel efficiency performance standard that will eliminate the least fuel-efficient tires from the passenger tire market, while a wet traction performance standard will help ensure tire fuel efficiency improvements are not achieved that the expense of wet traction performance and safety, according to the RMA.
The House is expected to vote on the conference report Dec. 3, with the Senate expected to follow suit on Dec. 4. President Barack Obama is expected to sign the measure.
The National Governors Association (NGA) and the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) released a statement Dec. 2 applauding the House-Senate conference committee for delivering the reauthorization legislation for federal highway and public transportation laws and programs.
The groups said they are calling on Congress “to move quickly to pass the bipartisan conference report for the Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act). Its passage will help ensure the long-term federal policy and funding predictability states require to support our nation's multimodal surface transportation and infrastructure systems.”