NHTSA keeps progress on truck tire rule revisions close to its vest

July 14, 2006

Don't expect a notice of proposed rulemaking from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) regarding revisions to Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 119, which governs medium truck tires, before the end of the year.

That's what NHTSA officials told the Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA) earlier this week.

NHTSA is still conducting truck tire tests, "but they're not going to share any of the data until the notice of proposed rulemaking comes out," says Dan Zielinski, vice president of communications for the RMA.

"We think (sharing data) during the process would be a better way."

There has never been a firm timetable as to when NHTSA will share its findings with the rest of the industry, Mike Wischhusen, director of industry standards and government regulations for Michelin North America Inc., recently told moderntiredealer.com.

"We fully support that NHTSA create a standard that's appropriate for real-world conditions," he says.

"Obviously there are reasons why they don't want to share their raw data. But in the spirit of industry cooperation, sharing a little bit (of information) would be beneficial."

"They won't give anyone a sneak preview of it," says Guy Walenga, engineering manager, commercial products, for Bridgestone Firestone North American Tire LLC.

"They are updating requirements based on today's technology and current speeds and loads.

"When the (original rule) was written (in the 1970s), bias-ply 10.00x20 was probably the main tire. So they want tests that will reflect more real-world applications.

"We have no problem with that," he adds. "I don't think the industry argues with that one bit."