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New safety standard is fine for snow tires, says NHTSA

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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) believes that Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 139 is adequate for testing snow tires. The standard goes into effect for non-snow tires on Sept. 1, 2007; snow tires have to be compliant beginning Sept. 1, 2008.

NHTSA's ruling was in response to petitioners who asked the agency to reconsider its testing requirements for snow tires and also certain specialty tires.

In January 2006, NHTSA reduced the speed for endurance and low-inflation snow tire testing from 75 miles per hour to 68 miles per hour. The speed applies to all passenger and light truck snow tires with load ranges of C, D and E.

Protestors accused NHTSA of "grandfathering existing snow tire design and performance by reducing compliance requirements," according to NHTSA officials.

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