Tires are complex marvels of engineering.
"(The average tire) contains on the order of a hundred or more materials and 15 or 20 components. They are complicated structures," Tracey Norberg said.
But to the general public, a tire simply is what gets them and their vehicles from point A to point B.
And part of the U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association's job is educating the world about tires and their innovations, Norberg, USTMA senior vice president and general counsel, said in her keynote presentation on the second day of ITEC.
Because when people understand, policy makers understand, and that helps drive change in the industry.
"We're part of this larger picture, and assuring that we can foster innovation in the tire industry really helps enable that whole story," Norberg said.
The USTMA has built up the tire industry's reputation in sustainability and innovation, and because of this has secured partnerships with numerous governmental agencies, like the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Transportation and the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration, among others, to help enact legislation that supports the industry.
The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (H.R. 3684), enacted Nov. 15, 2021, is the most recent example of this, Norberg said, which included several key wins for the industry, like stormwater management with rubber-modified asphalt (RMA) or the RMA eligible Emerging Technologies and Healthy Streets program.
Environmental and regulatory perspectives help foster innovation in tires, she said. And innovation helps the tire industry not only be successful, but sustainable.
Because when a tire is sustainable, it's safer, and so is its driver.
"It's important for us to take a step back and think about why we do all this. We do it for the rest of society and our families who need to get around in a safe, sustainable way," Norberg said. "It's important for us to keep that mindset that we are not doing this just to create the next fancy rubber or the best tire. We are doing this to benefit society."