NHTSA publishes details of tougher proposed tire tests

March 5, 2002

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) wants to impose more stringent tire testing standards in a variety of categories.

Its new High Speed/Endurance Standards would include factors like load, inflation pressure, speed, duration and ambient temperature.

Tires would be tested at "substantially higher" speeds than specified in current standards, and the proposed endurance test "is almost double the distance (2,720 kilometers) accumulated under the current" one, according to a summary of NHTSA's proposals released earlier today.

"These new testing parameters are based on NHTSA's activities undertaken in response to the TREAD (Transportation Recall Enhancement, Accountability and Documentation) Act, including extensive agency testing, data gathering and analyses as well as agency review of other existing international, industry and national standards and proposals," say NHTSA officials.

NHTSA also is proposing new Road Hazard Impact and Bead Unseating Tests that are "more dynamic" than current requirements.

In addition, the organization is proposing two new performance standards: Low Inflation Pressure Performance and Aging Effects.

NHTSA "is attempting to address concerns raised by members of Congress in hearings that preceded the enactment of the TREAD Act that (its) current test requirements do not evaluate how well tires perform when significantly under-inflated or after being subjected to environmental variables, such as heat, which accelerate aging."

NHTSA is seeking public comment on its tire testing proposals.