BOWIE, Md. — Tire dealers can use a federal safety database to help their commercial customers overcome vehicle maintenance issues while also creating additional business for themselves.
That's the assessment of Kevin Rohlwing, senior vice president of training at the Tire Industry Association (TIA), in his presentation Oct. 3 on "Commercial Tires: A Decade of CSA."
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) keeps track of every commercial vehicle inspection conducted around the country through its publicly available Safety Management System, an online record that's open to all to research. Those SMS records are part of the agency's Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) program.
"Tire, lights and brakes," Mr. Rohlwing said repeatedly during his presentation. "Tires, lights and brakes."
Over and over, he said, roadside vehicle-safety inspections for commercial vehicles commonly find violations regarding these three key areas.
And that's an opportunity for tire shops to provide the kind of light-duty maintenance for their commercial customers that will help keep them out of trouble during inspections.
Researching the FMCSA website allows users to drill down to specific trucking companies and view the results of their inspections for the past two years. This can give valuable insight to dealers about their customers' pain points, giving an opportunity for them to provide solutions to their customers, Mr. Rohlwing said.
"More and more, tire dealers are getting into these light mechanical services," he said during his online presentation.
Mr. Rohlwing originally was scheduled to discuss the topic in Las Vegas as part of the Global Tire Expo/SEMA Show, but the cancellation of that event pushed this presentation to the web.
The training official, for years, has been noting that tires, lights and brakes continue to be a key issue that commercial truck drivers face during inspections.
Safety officials always are looking to find problems with vehicles, and they commonly find these easy-to-discover issues during their time on the sides of roads with drivers and their vehicles.
"The tire service industry needs to get into tires, lights and brakes because these are going to be pain points for fleets as enforcement officials know exactly what to look for," Mr. Rohlwing said.
"If I was their service provider, if I was selling them tires, then it's sitting down with them. I don't think you want to come out and say, 'I've been looking at your CSA scores,' … (but) if I'm a salesman, I'm going to know (the safety reports) for every single one of those fleets," he said.
And it's not just the large fleets that should have tire dealers' attention.
Smaller trucking fleets are becoming a larger target of safety enforcement efforts, the training official said. That's because they are "easy pickings" for inspectors, Mr. Rohlwing said.