TIA Suggest Alternative to Mandatory Registration

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During a telephone press conference yesterday, the Tire Industry Association, together with the Safety Institute and Families for Safer Recalls, asked Congress and the NHTSA to support reform that requires uniform electronic scan-ability of tires to increase recall success. Scan-ability could be in the form of RFID or other technology, the groups said.

Language in current legislation shifts the burden, liability and expense of collecting registration data to independent tire dealers, TIA said. TIA claims such language allows “tire manufacturers to just step away,” and would resurrect an “archaic pencil and paper system that did not work.”

“We believe that tires can and should be machine readable and dealers need appropriate scan tools to quickly and accurately pick up that information,” said Roy Littlefield, executive vice president of TIA.

“Technology has come a long way in 40 years. Let’s utilize those advances and ensure meaningful reform,” he noted.

TIA requested Congress remove specific tire related language from S. 1732, supported by the Rubber Manufacturers Association, and hold off on any legislation until the National Transportation Safety Board completes its report later this year.

Once the NTSB reaches its conclusion, interested parties — safety groups, associations, agencies and manufacturers — can come together to work on a “meaningful” reform, TIA said.

“We can then come together, respond to the recommendations, address gaps that we can recognize in the current system — such as the difficulty in following a tire when the vehicle changes ownership, car owners changing addresses — and the unique issues with the used tire market, and do what is right, ensure meaningful reform for public safety,” Littlefield said.

Michelin already utilizes RFID in some of its truck tires.
Michelin already utilizes RFID in some of its truck tires.
In addition to assisting with tire registration, scan-able tires can also help increase recovery rates in the event of a tire recall, TIA noted.

“What machine readability and electronic identification does is it enables the dealer at the point of sale or at the point of service to scan those tires and make a recommendation or make a determination immediately whether or not that tire has been subjected to a recall in the past,” said Kevin Rowhling, senior vice president of training for TIA.

Currently, the process of discovering if a tire has been recalled is tedious, he said. A tire dealer must write down the name of the tire, brand, size and TIN with a pencil and paper, then go inside and search a website for that tire. The process can be long and is subject to human error. A scanner could tell the dealer instantly if the tire had been recalled, Rowling said.

“We’re already using what you call a test before you touch procedure with tire pressure monitoring systems and that could very easily be applied to tires as well,” he said. “All of our members are concerned about safety and want to make sure that their customers are on safe tires. But the only way that we can really do that in a mass system or in a nationwide program is if we do have that machine readability and that electronic identification so we can scan that tire and then the scanner itself will then give us a go or a no-go whether or not that tire has been subjected to a recall.

“We are totally in favor of reform, but again we just feel that it just needs to be focused on recovery, and registration’s just become a part of that.”

If current legislation is passed, TIA said it still has options that include working with NHTSA or Congress to get its suggestion implemented.

The RMA is not opposed to exploring scan-able technology to collect TIN information from tires, but is looking for an immediate solution to get tire registration rates up, Dan Zielinski, senior vice president for public affairs of the RMA, told Tire Review.

“If the technology is suitable, appropriate, available and cost effective then the regulatory process with help decide that after legislation is passed,” he said. “We know one thing for sure, we’re not going to get improved tire registration by having it be consumer directed. Step one, is we have to change where tires are registered in order to get that information to the manufacturers who need it to alert people that they might have a serious problem with their tires.”

Zielinski is unsure of the total cost for tire manufacturers to implement RFID chips but said the process would take years to implement and reform is needed now.

“Maybe RFID is part of the answer maybe it is the answer at some point right now it would take years to get that type of system and infrastructure needed to have everyone be able to read them,” he said.

Zielinski noted the old way of registering tires might not be the end-all solution, but if tire registration rates can improve from the 15% they are now back to the 40-50% rates they were with card legislation, that would be a vast improvement.

“We’re technology neutral we want a better system that works. The consumer directed registration has failed. A voluntary system isn’t gong to work,” he said.

Once the responsibility of tire registration is shifted from the consumer, groups can meet and discuss how technology might be able to assist with registration, which technologies are best and how to implement that technology, Zielinski said.

Source Tire Review

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