WASHINGTON (Jan. 6)—The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is relaxing its testing standards for snow tires and specialty light truck radials with a tread depth of 18/32 inches or greater, according to a final rule issued in the Federal Register.
To answer various industry petitions submitted after NHTSA issued its major revision of its tire safety and performance standards in June 2003, the agency has lowered the low-pressure and endurance testing speeds for snow tires from 120 to 110 kilometers per hour. It also ruled that heavy-tread specialty light truck radials will be tested under the less stringent requirements of the standard previously in effect for light truck tires. The new safety requirements go into effect Sept. 1, 2007, a three-month extension of the original effective date.
"We're ecstatic," said Scott Tackett, vice president of human resources and administration for Denman Tire Corp., which petitioned NHTSA for the specialty radial exemption. "As we told anyone and everyone, our business hinged on getting that exemption."
Tackett acknowledged the many individuals and groups that supported Denman's position at NHTSA, including the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Tire Industry Association, the United Steelworkers, the National Association of Manufacturers and several members of Congress including Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, and Sen. George Voinovich, R-Ohio.