NHTSA Finalizes New Tire Registration Regulation

Measure Provides Added Flexibility for Dealers, Codifies Electronic Registration

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

WASHINGTON, D.C.December 3, 2008 – The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issued final rules this week to improve tire registration.

The Rubber Manufacturers Association and the Tire Industry Association both support the new regulation, which will provide dealers with flexibility and allow greater use of electronic tire registration. The regulation is designed to boost the number of new tire registrations. Tire registration is a critical component in notifying consumers in the event of a tire recall.

“NHTSA’s action offers a path forward to improving tire registration rates,” said Tracey Norberg, RMA senior vice president. “This should enhance the ability of tire manufacturers and NHTSA to notify consumers in the event of a tire recall.”

When first implemented nearly three decades ago, tire registration procedures were strictly required to be done by standardized paper form. Under the current system, RMA members have estimated that only 10 percent of tires purchased each year are registered.

In 2003, RMA urged NHTSA to allow for some electronic tire registration to help increase the number of registrations. NHTSA agreed with RMA and issued a letter of interpretation. Last year, the White House Office of Management and Budget asked NHTSA to consider broadening electronic tire registrations further under federal rules that encourage reducing paperwork burdens. In January of this year, NHTSA issued a notice of proposed rulemaking to amend the tire registration rules.

The new rules will continue to permit paper registration forms but will now permit tire dealers to voluntarily submit electronic tire registrations for consumers. If a paper form is provided to consumers, the form may now also include information on how a consumer can register tires electronically.

“Choice and flexibility in filing tire registrations should be very helpful,” Norberg added.

Additionally, RMA and TIA had urged NHTSA to avoid imposing additional burdens on the tire industry. The final rule does not impose new obligations but instead accommodates and facilitates internet and other electronic tire registration.

The new rule takes effect on January 27, 2009. Optional immediate compliance is permitted as of November 28, 2008.

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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.

U.S.-Mexico Border Workshops Promote Scrap Tire Markets

Market-Based Solutions Sought for Waste Tire Management

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

WASHINGTON, D.C.May 14, 2007 – A joint effort by government and the tire industry to find market-based solutions to deal with scrap tires along the U.S.-Mexico border was highlighted in two recent scrap tire infrastructure-building workshops.

The workshops, April 24, in Palomas, Chihuahua, Mexico and in El Paso, Texas on April 25 were under the auspices of an U.S. Environmental Protection Administration program with the Mexican Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT).

The U.S.-Mexico Border Scrap Tire Management Initiative is part of the Border 2012 Hazardous and Solid Waste Policy Forum. The U.S.-Mexico Environmental Program is carrying out the 1983 Agreement on Cooperation for the Protection and Improvement of the Environment in the Border Area (La Paz Agreement), the ten-year bi-national Border 2012 Program aims to improve the environment and reduce the highest public health risks along the U.S-Mexico border.
Under the Border 2012 Program, the U.S. and Mexico are working jointly to reduce land contamination along their shared borders. One aspect of this program is addressing scrap tires.

The overall long-term goals for scrap tires on both sides of the border are to reduce and eliminate scrap tire piles, and to ensure that newly generated scrap tires are managed in an environmentally sound manner. More specifically one of the goals of this initiative is to identify needs and develop an action plan to improve institutional and infrastructure capacity for waste management and pollution prevention as they pertain to solid waste along the U.S.-Mexico border.
The Palomas workshop was hosted by the Border 2012 New Mexico-Chihuahua Rural Task Force and the New Mexico Department of Environmental Quality. The focus of the educational event was infrastructure and market development in the rural sector. The El Paso workshop was hosted by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and focused on infrastructure and market development in urban settings.

“The border region is an important component of the overall management of scrap tires and RMA will continue to be engaged in these types of programs,” said Michael Blumenthal, RMA senior technical director. “We provide technical expertise in addition to RMA’s nearly two decades of successful experience promoting effective scrap tire management. We look forward to working with both the U.S. and Mexico governments to schedule more of these workshops in the near future.”

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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 Testifies Against Maryland “Tire Efficiency” Measure

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

WASHINGTON, D.C.March 7, 2007 – Maryland legislators should forgo consideration of state “tire efficiency” standards on tire makers and support a national consumer education program on tire rolling resistance, according to the Rubber Manufacturers Association in testimony today before a House committee.

“The tire industry is committed to working with policymakers to provide information and education about tire manufacturing processes, tire performance characteristics, scrap tire market development and tire maintenance,” said Tracey Norberg, RMA vice president and deputy general counsel. “RMA appreciates the opportunity to discuss HB 608 and to inform the committee about policy developments in the area of tire energy efficiency over the past four years.”

The proposed legislation would create a consumer information program and rating system for tire rolling resistance and it would require minimum efficiency standards for all tires.

Norberg explained that attempts to emphasize tire fuel efficiency over other tire performance traits would have tradeoffs. She noted the relationship among tire rolling resistance, traction and tread wear and said that tire manufacturers would not compromise on safety.

Norberg also indicated that mandates for low rolling resistance tires would exacerbate scrap tire management issues. A 2006 RMA Scrap Tire Market Report illustrated the vast improvement in scrap tire management since 1990 that has reduced scrap tire stockpiles from 1 billion to fewer than 200 million tires and has helped markets for scrap tires soar from an 11 percent recovery rate to nearly 87 percent.

While California enacted tire efficiency legislation in 2003, Norberg said that the state has yet to promulgate regulations for either consumer information or performance standards. Also, tire testing by California regulators is not yet complete. RMA was able to secure some safeguards to the California legislation to forbid state performance standards if tire safety, tire longevity or the state’s scrap tire situation would be negatively affected.

RMA told Maryland lawmakers that an April 2006 National Academy of Sciences report recommended consumer information on tire rolling resistance in addition to improved consumer tire maintenance to help motorists optimize their fuel economy without limiting tire choices.

“A national program would obviate the need for states to develop their own consumer education programs and facilitate nationwide distribution of tire efficiency consumer information,” Norberg said. “A single, nationwide program would allow citizens in all states to make more informed tire purchasing decisions and avoid duplicative and potentially conflicting state requirements that would confuse consumers.”

Norberg concluded, “RMA recommends that Maryland forgo HB 608 in favor of a national program to address this issue. I am happy to keep this Committee and any appropriate regulatory agencies up to date on relevant developments on this issue.”

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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.