The return of mandatory tire registration cleared one big hurdle Nov. 5: passage by the U.S. House of Representatives.
The House voted 363-64 to approve the 500-plus page Surface Transportation Reauthorization Bill, and among the 1,000 amendments offered is one that includes a return to mandatory tire registration. Tire dealers would be required to register tires at the point of sale and turn over that information to manufacturers. The Hill, a blog that covers Congress, referred to this week’s action as a “weeklong vote-a-rama.”
Even with the House vote, the bill is not a done deal. The U.S. Senate passed its own version of the highway bill in July, and now the two legislative bodies must work out the differences in the entire bill. The Senate legislation did include mandatory tire registration.
Dan Zielinski, senior vice president of public affairs for the Rubber Manufacturers Association, says the group is “pleased with the outcome” of the House vote.
“The House-passed tire provisions are identical to Senate-passed tire provisions that were included in the Senate’s highway bill,” Zielinski says. (See those provisions here.)
Despite being in Las Vegas for the 2015 Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show, Roy Littlefield, executive vice president of the Tire Industry Association, spent much of Nov. 5 working on the tire registration issue. He doesn’t want to reveal too much as to TIA’s strategy at this point, but says the issue could go either way.
The clock is ticking. The largest provisions and focus of the highway bill provide funding for highway and infrastructure projects throughout the nation. The current authorization for federal highway programs expires Nov. 20, and without a new bill to renew those programs, Congress would have to pass another extension. Zielinksi of the RMA says it appears the plan is to complete action on a final bill, and avoid the need for another extension, ahead of the deadline.
At the 2015 SEMA Show, the creator of a mobile app to help tire dealers manage tire registration was close to giddy over the news. Craig Howes, CEO and president of Tire Force Solutions Ltd., said traffic at his company’s SEMA Show booth, and inquiries specifically about tire registration, had been good throughout the week-long show in Las Vegas. The company debuted its TireDOTRegistry app at the show.
Howes knows there is competition to capture the tire registration market, but said “the point is it doesn’t have to be difficult. There’s a solution.”