Federal Tire Legislation Promotes Safety, Fuel Efficiency and Competitiveness

RMA Supports Measure Sponsored by Sen. Lindsey Graham

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

WASHINGTON, D.C., July 10, 2015 — Congress will consider legislation to create minimum tire performance standards for tire fuel efficiency and wet traction; improve manufacturers’ ability to contact consumers in the event of a tire recall; and create a web-based tool for consumers and tire dealers to more easily determine whether a tire is subject to a safety recall.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) this week introduced the Tire Efficiency, Safety and Registration Act, S.1741.  Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS) cosponsored the bill.   S. 1741 is strongly supported by the Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA), the national trade association for tire manufacturers that produce tires in the U.S.

“This legislation will significantly help improve consumer safety, vehicle fuel economy and industry global competitiveness as well as regulatory consistency,” said Dan Zielinski, RMA senior vice president, public affairs.  “We applaud Sen. Graham for taking a leadership role in Congress to introduce this measure and appreciate Sen. Brown and Sen. Wicker for their support.”

The bill contains three sections:

Minimum Tire Performance Standards for fuel efficiency and Wet Traction

  • Establishing a minimum tire fuel efficiency performance standard 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.
  • Several other nations already have adopted similar standards. Adopting these standards helps to ensure that the United States does not become a dumping ground for lower performing tires.

“RMA members support these performance standards to help consumers and the nation conserve fuel without compromising wet traction safety performance,” Zielinski said.

Improving Consumer Notification of Tire Recalls

  • 1741 will require tire sellers to register tires to boost registration rates and improve the ability of tire manufacturers to directly notify consumers of a tire recall so that tires with potential safety issues can be quickly removed from service and replaced.
  • In 1982, federal law was changed from requiring tire sellers to register tires at point of sale to only requiring tire sellers to provide the means to register tires to consumers. This change resulted in the tire registration rate dropping from nearly 50 percent to about 15 percent.
  • Tire manufacturers are currently required to notify consumers who may be affected by a tire recall. But this is made difficult by the current low tire registration rates. Tire dealers now are required only to provide a paper registration card to every consumer who purchases new tires to document the tire identification number (TIN).  The consumer then should complete the card with contact information and mail it to the tire manufacturer who keeps the information in the event of a tire recall.
  • By requiring registration at the point of sale, registration rates will increase and manufacturers will be better able to meet their requirement to notify consumers of a tire recall.

Create a consumer-friendly lookup tool to search tire recalls

  • All tire recalls are reported to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) yet the agency does not maintain an easy, consumer-friendly database to search for tire recall information.
  • 1741 would require NHTSA to develop a tire recall lookup tool searchable by TIN to enable consumers and tire sellers to quickly determine whether a tire is subject to a recall.
  • A searchable system for automobile recalls using the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) is available on NHTSA’s web site.

“Together, these provisions will improve the ability for tire manufacturers to notify consumers in the event of a tire recall,  boost the competitiveness of the U.S. tire manufacturing industry and help to harmonize an often complicated global regulatory structure,” Zielinski said.  “We will continue to work with Sens. Graham, Brown, Wicker and others to enact this measure.”

# # # #

The Rubber Manufacturers Association is the national trade association for tire manufacturers that produce tires in the U.S. All RMA press releases are available at www.rma.org.