ANNAPOLIS, Md. (Feb. 17, 2012)—The Tire Industry Association is urging its Maryland members to come to Annapolis Feb. 21 to attend a hearing on a pending tire aging bill and register their opposition.
Supported by 22 co-sponsors, Maryland House Bill 729 would force all tire manufacturers and distributors doing business in Maryland to affix labels on all tires stating the month and year of manufacture, TIA said in a Feb. 16 email.
It also would require tire dealers to present a statement to consumers to the effect that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommends that tires be replaced after six years, though TIA noted that NHTSA has never made such a recommendation.
Dealers would have to present a receipt or invoice stating a tire's date of manufacture. Consumers would have to sign the disclosure, and dealers would have to give consumers a copy and keep the original for at least three years. Any infraction of the law would be subject to a fine of up to $500.
“What can you do to protect your company from such outrageous and unnecessary legislation and huge fines for the smallest mistake?” TIA wrote in its notice regarding the Feb. 21 hearing on House Bill 729 before the Maryland House Committee on Economic Matters.
TIA invited Maryland dealers to join TIA Executive Vice President Roy Littlefield for lunch at the Loews Annapolis Hotel at 11:30 on Feb. 21, during which Littlefield would brief them on the bill and how dealers can stop it.
Then Littlefield and the other attendees will walk over to the Maryland House Office Building to register their disapproval of the bill. TIA asked attendees to wear company uniforms, hats, shirts or jackets if possible and also asked them to forward the email to as many members of the Maryland auto repair industry as possible.
Chief sponsor of House Bill 729 is Del. Benjamin F. Kramer, D-19th District. Del. Kramer said he became interested in the tire aging issue last year, after ABATE of Maryland, the state's largest association of motorcycle riders, contacted him about a member who suffered a catastrophic accident because of a failed tire.
“He had purchased what he thought was a new tire, when in fact it had sat on a shelf for several years,” he said. After Del. Kramer began studying tire aging, he became convinced it is a major safety issue, he said.
Auto makers including Ford, Chrysler, Audi and BMW recommend removing tires after six years, while four tire makers—Cooper Tire & Rubber Co., Bridgestone Corp., Continental Tire the Americas LLC and Michelin North America Inc.—recommending changing them after 10 years.
The Rubber Manufacturers Association opposes HB 729, stating it is incorrect to declare a tire's age in isolation as a defect. Safety Research & Strategies Inc., a safety watchdog group, has long advocated tire age legislation and regulation, and supports the bill.