It's a go: RMA supports new tire registration legislation

July 12, 2015

Congress is focusing its efforts on tires -- with the help of the Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA).

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) last week introduced the Tire Efficiency, Safety and Registration Act, S.1741. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS) cosponsored the bill.

In its current form, the legislation would:

1. create minimum tire performance standards for tire fuel efficiency and wet traction;

2. improve manufacturers’ ability to contact consumers in the event of a tire recall; and

3. create a Web-based tool for consumers and tire dealers to more easily determine whether a tire is subject to a safety recall.

“This legislation will significantly help improve consumer safety, vehicle fuel economy and industry global competitiveness as well as regulatory consistency,” says Dan Zielinski, the RMA's senior vice president of public affairs.

Here are the bill's three sections in more detail.

1. Minimum tire performance standards for fuel efficiency and wet traction: Establishing a minimum tire fuel efficiency performance standard will eliminate the least fuel efficient tires from the passenger tire market, while a wet traction performance standard will help ensure tire fuel efficiency improvements are not achieved that the expense of wet traction performance and safety.

According to the RMA, several other nations already have adopted similar standards, according to the RMA. "Adopting these standards helps to ensure that the United States does not become a dumping ground for lower performing tires."

2. Improving consumer notification of tire recalls: S. 1741 will require tire sellers to register tires to boost registration rates and improve the ability of tire manufacturers to directly notify consumers of a tire recall so that tires with potential safety issues can be quickly removed from service and replaced.

 In 1982, federal law was changed from requiring tire sellers to register tires at point of sale to only requiring tire sellers to provide the means to register tires to consumers.

"By requiring registration at the point of sale, registration rates will increase and manufacturers will be better able to meet their requirement to notify consumers of a tire recall," says the RMA.

3.  Create a consumer-friendly lookup tool to search tire recalls: All tire recalls are reported to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), yet the agency does not maintain an easy, consumer-friendly database to search for tire recall information. S. 1741 would require NHTSA to develop a tire recall lookup tool searchable by TIN to enable consumers and tire sellers to quickly determine whether a tire is subject to a recall.

A searchable system for automobile recalls using the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) is available on NHTSA’s Web site.

“Together, these provisions will improve the ability for tire manufacturers to notify consumers in the event of a tire recall, boost the competitiveness of the U.S. tire manufacturing industry and help to harmonize an often complicated global regulatory structure,” says Zielinski.

“We will continue to work with Sens. Graham, Brown, Wicker and others to enact this measure.”

For more information on tire registration, check out these links:

"TIA opposes mandatory tire registration bill."

"Tire registration and legislation."