WASHINGTON (Feb. 27) — Safety Research & Strategies, Inc., a Rehoboth, Mass.-based consumer watchdog group with close ties to plaintiffs' attorneys, is calling on the tire industry to adopt stricter inspection standards for the estimated 30 million used tires sold to motorists each year. "So many of the accidents we've seen involve used tires," said SRS President Sean Kane, who sees the issue as one that can be solved by state regulation or self-policing by the tire industry.
Representatives of the tire industry, however, said Kane is exaggerating the problem enormously, and that the vast majority of used tire dealers already inspect their products carefully. "We are very confident they are acting in a professional manner in the sale of used tires," said Paul Fiore, director of government and business affairs for the Tire Industry Association.
If used tires suddenly became unavailable, the drivers who buy them would put off new tire purchases, creating a far more serious safety problem than good used tires ever would, added Dick Gust, president of Chicago-based Lakin Environmental Industries L.L.C. and a former TIA president.