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NHTSA issues final tire labeling rule

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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA) final tire labeling rule "will improve the information readily available to consumers about tires" and "will assist consumers in indentifying tires that may be the subject of a safety recall," according to NHTSA officials.

"It will also increase public awareness of the importance and methods of observing motor vehicle tire load limits and maintaining proper tire inflation levels."

The rule -- which goes into effect Sept. 1, 2003 -- applies to all new and retreaded tires for use on vehicles manufactured after 1975 with gross vehicle weight (GVW) ratings of 10,000 pounds or less, as well as all new vehicles with GVWs of 10,000 pounds or less.

Motorcycles and "low speed vehicles" are excluded.

As part of the rule, NHTSA:

* will not reorder the contents of Tire Information Numbers (TIN);

* is requiring that the full TIN be placed on the intended outboard sidewall of each tire with the full TIN or a partial TIN containing all pertinent information except the date code on the opposite sidewall;

* is eliminating vehicle placard/label size and format requirements, "except for those specifying certain headings," plus use of the tire icon and color;

* is ordering that vehicle placards and labels be affixed to the inward facing surface of the vehicle next to the driver's seat if the vehicle in question does not have a side B pillar and/or the driver's door edge is too narrow or does not exist.

NHTSA is not expecting full compliance until Sept. 1, 2006, and claims it is "providing the tire industry with ample time to accomplish the task."

Compliance will cost tire manufacturers $23.4 million overall "during the phase-in period," say NHTSA officials.

"The cost increase per retread tire will be higher by an unknown amount."

To review the entire document issued by NHTSA today, click on the following link:

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NHTSA is accepting petitions for reconsideration through Jan. 2, 2003, at the following address: Administrator; Room 5220; NHTSA; 400 7th St. SW; Washington, D.C. 20590.

Petitions should refer to the document's docket number, say NHTSA officials.

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