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TIA creates organization to oversee renamed check-off program

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The Tire Industry Association (TIA) has formed a new organization -- the National Tire Safety, Research and Education Alliance -- to oversee its check-off program, which has been renamed the Tire Initiative for Research, Education and Safety, or TIRES.

"We felt the check-off program meant nothing to most dealers," says TIA President Dick Gust.

"The new acronym tells you exactly what the program is and should help everyone in the industry understand what it´s all about."

The TIRES program aims to achieve the same goals as the check-off program, according to TIA officials.

"With the permission of Congress and approval by the tire industry through a referendum, a small fee that is passed on to consumers would be charged on new and replacement tires sold in the United States and used on highway vehicles."

The National Tire Safety, Research and Education Alliance will collect funds and coordinate a national program to finance consumer education campaigns, tire industry personnel training initiatives, and research and development efforts.

"A percentage of those funds would also go to state and regional tire dealer associations to support their efforts in these three areas. A board of directors made up of people representing tire dealers and marketers, importers, tire manufacturers and other tire industry-related professionals would manage the alliance."

Though TIA has created a draft that outlines the basic structure of the program, it first plans to meet with tire dealers to explain the framework of the program and get their input.

"We want the involvement of every citizen of the tire community that would be affected by this program to ensure the TIRES program truly reflects the wants and desires of the industry," says Gust. "Each dealer can take ownership in it as well as benefit from it."

More than 60 check-off programs are currently operating in United States industries, according to TIA officials.

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