CALIFORNIA TIRE MEASURE IS A LAWSUIT MAGNET

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

RMA Says Bill is Inconsistent, Contradictory, Fear-Mongering

WASHINGTON, D.C.May 28, 2009 - The Rubber Manufacturers Association today criticized a California Assembly bill as “inconsistent”, “contradictory,” and “fear-mongering” that would only serve to increase lawsuit opportunities for the bill’s primary supporters – trial lawyers.

The Assembly passed the measure today by a vote of 41-28.

AB 496 would selectively require consumer notification about a tire’s chronological age on some sellers of replacement tires, primarily tire dealers. Supporters of the measure claim that tires reaching a certain age are a potential safety hazard and say the notification is necessary to prevent older tires from being placed into service.

However, supporters’ alleged concern with motorist safety is contradicted by provisions in the bill that would exempt millions of tires from the bill’s age notification.

“Proponents of this bill use fear-mongering to allege that tires reaching a certain chronological age are dangerous,” said Dan Zielinski, RMA senior vice president, public affairs. “But the bill is inconsistent in its application. Any consumer who buys tires or a vehicle in a private transaction, or who buys a new or used vehicle from a dealer or who buys replacement tires from an auto dealer would not receive a notification under this proposal. These exemptions make the measure contradictory on its face and are implicit acknowledgement that chronological tire age alone is not a hazard.”

RMA also says that the measure’s notification provisions are confusing and likely to result in second-guessing by trial lawyers.

“Providing a simple, understandable notification to consumers about a tire’s date of manufacture is reasonable,” Zielinski said. “But the bill provides several options that would likely lead to trial lawyers’ accusations that a dealer didn’t provide the most appropriate notification. This would force nearly all notifications to be given prior to the point of sale which will result in needless service delays.”

In an earlier letter of opposition to AB 496 author, Assembly Member Mike Davis, RMA noted that a prior-to-sale notification would be impractical and burdensome.

Although several auto and tire manufacturers have issued recommendations for tire replacement after a number of years, none are derived from technical data that suggests a tire would not perform after such time.

Allegations that there is a correlation between tire performance and chronological tire age are unfounded and unsupported by data. No auto industry, tire industry or National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) data has determined that a tire cannot perform when it reaches a particular chronological age.

Information provided by RMA to NHTSA shows that chronological tire age is not a factor in tire performance. An RMA study of 14,000 scrap tires did not reveal any indication that tires are removed from service once they reach a certain chronological age. A second comprehensive study of all claims made by consumers to tire manufacturers over a six-year period showed that the rate of claims as a function of the chronological age of tires actually decreases after six years.

“AB 496 would only benefit trial lawyers by creating a new roadmap to sue California tire dealers,” Zielinski said. “The measure makes inaccurate statements about tire performance and imposes new burdens on tire retailers in a particularly unfortunate economic climate.”

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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.

RMA, Alliance to Save Energy Team Up on Drive $marter Challenge to Help Drivers Save on Gas

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

WASHINGTON, D.C.May 19, 2009 - The Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA) and the Alliance to Save Energy have teamed up with a broad coalition of companies and organizations to “drive forward” the Alliance’s Drive $marter Challenge campaign designed to save drivers hundreds of dollars on gasoline and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
RMA’s Be Tire Smart – Play Your PART tire care education program and the Alliance’s Drive $marter Challenge both seek to educate consumers to take simple steps that can save money, protect the environment and promote safety.

“We share a common goal in seeking to educate motorists that proper maintenance can have significant personal and national benefits,” said Charles A. Cannon, RMA president and CEO.

RMA’s eighth annual National Tire Safety Week on June 7-13 will involve more than 20,000 tire and auto service outlets that will offer Be Tire Smart information to consumers. The initiative provides an opportunity to promote both environmental and safety benefits of tire care.

The Drive $marter Challenge website (www.drivesmarterchallenge.org) identifies events and gives additional tips to cut gas costs and improve the environment.

RMA, which is a leader in promoting conservation and safety messages by advocating proper tire care, has become the latest partner of the Drive $marter Challenge campaign. This effort includes diverse nonprofit, governmental, and for-profit entities working together to promote fuel efficient driving and proper vehicle maintenance and encouraging consumers to conserve energy.

“RMA is proud to join efforts with the diverse community of interests in The Drive $marter Challenge as it is a natural fit to our ongoing consumer education on the importance of regular tire maintenance,” said Cannon. “Under-inflated tires waste fuel, cause tires to wear out prematurely and increase driver’s safety risk. With fuel prices on the rise again, simple tire maintenance steps can save gas and money.”

President Obama also is an advocate of tire maintenance. On Earth Day in April, the president promoted energy efficiency and said that “the one small step Americans could take” is “to keep their tires inflated.”

“We certainly agree with President Obama and join him in urging American drivers to take five minutes every month to check tire pressure,” Cannon said.

The Drive $marter Challenge website features a unique interactive calculator showing drivers immediately how many hundreds of dollars they can save with their specific vehicles by taking six easy driving and maintenance actions.

The Alliance to Save Energy is a non-profit coalition of business, government, environmental and consumer leaders. The Alliance to Save Energy supports energy efficiency as a cost-effective energy resource and advocates energy-efficiency policies that minimize energy use and costs to society and individual consumers and that lessen greenhouse gas emissions and their impact on the global climate.

Partners of the Drive $marter Challenge include American Petroleum Institute, Car Care Council, DOE/Oak Ridge National Laboratory, ExxonMobil, League of American Bicyclists, National Association of Counties, National Association of State Energy Officials, NASCAR, National Independent Auto Dealers Association, National Low Income Energy Consortium and RMA.

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The Rubber Manufacturers Association is the national trade association for the rubber products industry. Its members include more than 80 companies that manufacture various rubber products, including tires, hoses, belts, seals, molded goods, and other finished rubber products. All RMA press releases are available at www.rma.org.

RMA Participates in US Interior Department Safety Day

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

WASHINGTON, D.C.May 19, 2009 - The Rubber Manufacturers Association will participate today in a U.S. Interior Department (DOI) Annual Safety & Health Week. The DOI Safety and Health Information fair will be held May 19th at DOI headquarters in Washington, D.C.
RMA will join government and non-governmental agencies in educating DOI staff and others about various safety-related issues. Exhibitors expected to participate include Occupational Health and Safety Administration, the National Safety Council, Electrical Safety Foundation and others.

RMA staff and Phillip the Tire mascot will be handing out materials and demonstrating proper tire care and maintenance as well as promoting National Tire Safety Week, which is June 7-13.

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The Rubber Manufacturers Association is the national trade association for the rubber products industry. Its members include more than 80 companies that manufacture various rubber products, including tires, hoses, belts, seals, molded goods, and other finished rubber products. All RMA press releases are available at www.rma.org.