RMA Urges Ohio to Enact Primary Seat Belt Law

Letter to Ohio Senate

For more information contact:
Dan Zielinski
(202) 682-4846
dzielinski@rma.org

WASHINGTON, D.C.March 11, 2009 – The Rubber Manufacturers Association is urging Ohio lawmakers to enact legislation to improve motorist seat belt use.

A measure to allow police to pull over motorists only for failing to buckle up passed the Ohio House last week. The measure is expected to face opposition in the Senate.

In a letter to Ohio state senators, RMA President and CEO Charles A. Cannon noted the tire and rubber manufacturing industry’s long history in Ohio as well as the industry’s strong commitment to safety.

“Manufacturing the only automotive product that touches the road means safety is the single highest priority for tire makers,” Cannon wrote. “Automotive and tire research and innovation have made vehicles and vehicle components increasingly safe over the last several decades.

“Unfortunately, not even these fundamental technological leaps can always protect vehicle occupants in the event of a crash. While technologically simpler than many of today’s vehicle components, the seatbelt remains our nation’s most formidable weapon against motor vehicle fatalities and injuries.”

Using lap/shoulder belts reduces the risk of fatal injury to front seat passengers by 45 percent. States that have enacted primary seat belt enforcement have a 10-15 percent higher use rate compared to states with only secondary enforcement.

Ohio Senate hearings are scheduled today and tomorrow on HB 2, legislation that includes the primary seat belt enforcement provision. A broad coalition including automotive manufacturers, insurance companies, law enforcement agencies, health care organizations, national and local safety organizations, supports the provision.

“The annual loss of 42,000 lives on U.S. highways is a national tragedy,” Cannon said. “Although it is a simple task, too many Americans continue to drive or ride in vehicles at great personal risk by not wearing a seatbelt. Increasing the ability of law enforcement to ticket seat belt avoidance will help improve Ohio’s seat belt compliance. Doing this will prevent the loss of life as well as the accompanying suffering of loved ones who bear the scars of bereavement over the often unnecessary loss of family or friends.”

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The Rubber Manufacturers Association is the national trade association for the rubber products industry. Its members include companies that manufacture various rubber products, including tires, hoses, belts, seals, molded goods, and other finished rubber products. RMA members employ over 120,000 workers and account for more than $21 billion in annual sales.

Proposed State Tire Fee Hike Won’t Clean Up Scrap Tires

45 Million Scrap Tires Litter Centennial State – Worst In Nation

For more information contact:
Dan Zielinski
(202) 682-4846
dzielinski@rma.org

WASHINGTON, D.C.March 5, 2009 – Buying a set of four tires will cost Colorado consumers an additional $13 if lawmakers approve a proposed increase in the state tire fee to $3.25 per tire.

State tire fees are typically used to pay for the cleanup of discarded tires and creation of markets for scrap tires. Unfortunately, Colorado diverts 80 percent of the current tire fee to other purposes and has not been active in either stockpile abatement or developing markets for the 4.5 million scrap tires the State generates each year.

A state-by-state survey of scrap tire management progress conducted by the Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA) shows Colorado has the most stockpiled tires of any state with 45 million tires, creating a health, safety, fire and environmental hazard.

“Colorado’s pro-environment reputation is challenged by the state’s abysmal record in managing waste tires,” said Michael Blumenthal, RMA vice president.

If the $1.75 per-tire fee hike is enacted, Colorado consumers will pay the state $13 for every set of four tires purchased. The total take for the state will amount to more than $14 million annually but none of those funds would be used to clean up the largest scrap tire pile in the U.S. – some 40 million tires in El Paso County.

Last week, the Colorado Senate approved SB09-31 18-15 to raise the state tire fee by $1.75 and use the funds for economic development. The House may address the measure shortly.

Nationwide, states have been vigorously cleaning up stockpiled waste tires and working to foster the creation of productive markets that reuse tires. In 1990, more than one billion tires were stockpiled nationwide and only 11 percent of scrap tires were reused.

Today, about 125 million tires remain stockpiled and more than 85 percent of annually generated scrap tires are reused. Colorado is home to more than one third of all the stockpiled scrap tires in the country.

The tire industry, led by RMA, has been working for nearly two decades to promote market-based solutions to using scrap tires and reasonable regulations to clean up piles of scrap tires. RMA supports fees on new tires to fund scrap tire management goals. The group opposes efforts to use such revenue for non-scrap tire purposes.

“It makes sense to impose fees on tires if the funds are used to address scrap tire issues,” Blumenthal said. “But when these revenues are hijacked for other purposes, a state may suffer far worse environmental consequences and cleanup costs if a major tire stockpile catches fire. In too many states, this failure to act has caused significant environmental harm and cost the state tens of millions of dollars in clean up costs.”

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The Rubber Manufacturers Association is the national trade association for the rubber products industry. Its members include companies that manufacture various rubber products, including tires, hoses, belts, seals, molded goods, and other finished rubber products. RMA members employ over 120,000 workers and account for more than $21 billion in annual sales.