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TIA, RMA: Maryland tire aging bill hurts dealers

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Representatives of the Tire Industry Association (TIA) and the Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA) met with Maryland legislators yesterday to oppose the state’s proposed tire aging bill.

TIA and RMA have lead the charge in getting support to oppose HB 729, which would require redundant labeling of tires with date of manufacture. The bill would also impose record-keeping mandates on small businesses that sell tires.

RMA’s Senior Vice President, Regulatory Affairs and Corporate Counsel Tracey Norberg testified that the bill would force retailers and manufacturers to issue factually inaccurate statements about tire performance and create impractical consumer notification requirements that have no documented safety benefit.

RMA conducted two surveys and submitted the results at the hearing. The first examined tires that were recently removed from service and at what chronological age they were removed.

“If older tires were more likely to fail, we would have seen a spike in the rate of removal for older tires,” says Norberg. “We saw no correlation to chronological age.”

RMA also did a study examining all claims made against tire companies over a 10-year period.

“If chronological age were a factor in traffic-related incidents then the rate of claims would show an increase for ‘older’ tires versus ‘younger’ tires,” says Norberg. “These two studies demonstrate the lack of any real-world link between chronological age and adverse tire performance. When combined with the lack of any technical data, the empirical evidence becomes overwhelming that chronological age offers no significant link to tire performance.”

“We put together a very strong showing,” says TIA Executive Vice President Dr. Roy Littlefield. “We systematically addressed consumer education, training, and our efforts with NHTSA. Dealers each discussed the liability, paperwork recordkeeping and inventory concerns that this bill would create.”

Littlefield says this is a great example of what can be accomplished by working together and speaking in one voice. TIA and RMA came together last week also, at TIA’s OTR Conference.

“It will not be easy stopping this bill, which went in with 22 co-sponsors,” says Littlefield. “The legislation was also cross-filed in the senate, so we will have to do this again in the senate finance committee in the near future. The bill has not yet been scheduled for a vote in the House Economic Matters Committee, where it was heard yesterday.”

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