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TIA sounds off on early warning reporting regulations

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The Tire Industry Association (TIA) says the final early warning reporting regulations announced by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) last week are both good and bad for the tire industry, depending on your point of view.

"TIA is pleased that consumer complaints will not be under the reporting requirements for tire manufacturers," says Becky MacDicken, TIA's director of government affairs. "The public understands little about their tires so if every complaint is entered into NHTSA's database, it would simply be fodder for trial lawyers and information for the public to misinterpret."

For these reasons, TIA strongly believes that all information submitted under the NHTSA standard "should be kept confidential unless there is the need to announce a recall."

TIA also was pleased about the following:

* Retreaders have to report to the government only in the event of a fatality.

* Private brand owners have the flexibility to determine if they or the tire fabricators report

information to NHTSA.

TIA was not pleased -- but not surprised -- that information on warranty claims and adjustments must be submitted. "Currently,

many tire dealers make adjustments to make a customer happy, regardless of whether the tire has been abused," says MacDicken. "With this new... rule, a tire dealer will be far less likely to make an adjustment to

appease a consumer."

Petitions for reconsideration of the final rule still can be submitted to NHTSA. All petitions should refer to Docket No. NHTSA 2001-8677; Notice 3, and sent to: Administrator, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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