Tire Industry Association and Safety Advocate Groups Team Up to Support Tire Recall and Recovery Reform

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Tire Industry Association and Safety Advocate Groups Team Up to Support Tire Recall and Recovery Reform

Safety advocates and the Tire Industry Association agree that technology which would allow electronic scanning of tires is the only way to reform tire recall procedures to guarantee full recovery of defective tires.

The Tire Industry Association (TIA), The Safety Institute and Families for Safer Recalls requested that Congress and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration support recall and recovery reform that requires uniform electronic scan-ability of tires. The current system has failed for a long time, with an estimated less than 20 percent of recalled tires actually being recovered, according to The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). Currently, Tire Identification Numbers (TIN), which are codes used to identify recalled tires, are manually transmitted to manufacturers by consumers or tire service professionals. During a recall, neither party has tools that can quickly and accurately decipher whether tires are a part of a recall.

Even though the NTSB is currently in the process of making recommendations for improvements based on crashes from failure of recalled defective tires, legislators are moving forward with a bill supported by the Rubber Manufacturers Association that would only make slight adjustments to the currently dated system. July 15, the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation passed a combined transportation funding and safety bill that includes re-establishing mandatory tire registration by dealers. The bill also includes provision for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to include a TIN-based recall look-up on its website. The changes place the burden on the tire dealers, leaving the tire manufacturers with little to no responsibility.

The current registration process for tires is very labor-intensive, and requires the hand translation of the TIN from the side of a tire to a mail-in registration card or electronically by computer. While adding a TIN-based recall look-up is a positive step forward, dealers are not equipped to take on the full load of translating each TIN, nor will it help solve the problem of defective tires not being recovered.

Safety advocate groups and the TIA are suggesting that RFID chips in tires or laser-etched QR codes would be a cost effective and up-to-date way to keep track of recalled tires as well as notify owners. Even if ownership changes or tires were purchased used, tire identification could still notify parties of whether the tire was recalled or not.  Tire Dealers are not opposed to tire registration, but the new legislation places the entire burden on them with no realistic methods for doing the job right. Not only could small tire dealers go out of business, but the larger dealers would be hurt by having to send their customer list to manufacturers.

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