Rubber Manufacturers Association submits comments to NHTSA

Feb. 12, 2002

The Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA) has submitted comments to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) regarding proposed rules designed to speed up tire recall programs and the distribution of reimbursements to consumers.

"One of the proposals would create a process for tire manufacturers to accelerate a remedy program to replace tires that are subject to a recall," RMA officials said in an official statement yesterday afternoon.

"While the RMA is in basic agreement with the agency... the group notes that the proposal is based on the assumption that recalls are massive undertakings, which for the tire industry, is rarely the case."

The RMA also wants NHTSA to establish "more extensive criteria" to determine suitable replacement tires in the event of a recall.

It recommends replacement tires should have the same or higher load index and speed ratings, plus the same UTQG rating, as original units.

When it comes to reimbursement, the RMA wants NHTSA to create a recall procedure that requires buyers to demonstrate proof of purchase "by a variety of methods," including sales invoices and a copy of their tire registration card.

In addition, the RMA wants NHTSA to limit reimbursement to instances that happen five days after recall notification has been sent to tire dealers. "After five days, consumers would be subject to terms of the recall."

NHTSA wants triemakers to act on reimbursement claims within 60 days of submission; the RMA suggests that the time start from 60 days of claims receipt. "The manufacturer should also notify the customer within 30 days of receipt of submission if the claim is incomplete."