RMA says most tires won't pass

June 6, 2002
More than 50% of light truck tires and more than 40% of passenger car tires would not withstand proposed new federal tire-testing standards, according to the Rubber Manufacturers Assn. (RMA) The group, which represents tire manufacturers, called the proposal "unwarranted and extreme" given the high level of safety and performance of today's tires. "Today's tires are safe, They last longer than ever
More than 50% of light truck tires and more than 40% of passenger car tires would not withstand proposed new federal tire-testing standards, according to the Rubber Manufacturers Assn. (RMA)

The group, which represents tire manufacturers, called the proposal "unwarranted and extreme" given the high level of safety and performance of today's tires.

"Today's tires are safe, They last longer than ever before and often perform safely even when driven for periods of time while underinflated and overloaded," said RMA president & CEO Donald B. Shea. "However, no tire can withstand an unlimited amount of abuse and be expected to perform."

An analysis by RMA found that as many as 42% of passenger car tires and more than 50% of light truck tires may not meet NHTSA's proposed new standard – far greater than the 30% that NHTSA believes would not meet the proposed standard. RMA noted that NHTSA's own data shows that the percentage of tires cited in accident statistics compared to the population of tires is 0.0013%.

"NHTSA has absolutely failed to demonstrate that a significant population of today's tires is not performing in a safe and reliable manner," Shea said. "In fact, NHTSA's own data shows an extremely low number of tire-related problems."

In its comments, RMA said that NHTSA's proposal fails to abide by a number of important government guidelines for major regulations.

"NHTSA's proposal fails government guidelines to show that safety will be improved," said Ann Wilson, RMA senior vp, government relations. "This is clearly a contradiction of a mandate not only of the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1966, but also the Transportation Recall Enhancement, Accountability and Documentation (TREAD) Act."

The regulation for revising federal tire-testing standards was included in the TREAD Act, which Congress passed last November.

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Tim Parry

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