WASHINGTON—A proposed web portal to help the public look up vehicle and tire recalls should include Tire Identification Numbers, the safety group Safety Research & Strategies Inc. told the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The Rubber Manufacturers Association, meanwhile, suggested changes to the data-entry templates for early warning information reporting under the web-based system.
The early warning web portal was mandated as part of the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act, or "MAP-21," the surface transportation reauthorization bill passed earlier this year.
Since 2009, NHTSA has required tire manufacturers to include a range of TINs for each recalled tire population, the Rehoboth, Mass.-based SRS said.
"Nonetheless, the problem of accessibility for this critical information remains," said SRS President Sean Kane in his Nov. 9 letter to the NHTSA docket. "Manufacturers and large retailers do not have a database for checking recalls at the service level."
Adding a TIN-searchable system to the early warning web portal would give both tire dealers and consumers a quick way to determine a tire's recall status, Kane said. It also may improve the tire recall repair rate, which historically has averaged about 30 percent, he said.
In its comments, also dated Nov. 9, the RMA said that a provision in the proposed rule, prohibiting manufacturers from including disclaimers of safety defects in noncompliance reports, contradicts existing regulations on filing petitions for findings of inconsequential noncompliance.
"In the first instance, the regulatory text prohibits any statement … that the noncompliance or defect does not relate to motor vehicle safety, while in the second instance it appears to allow or arguably require such a statement," wrote RMA Senior Vice President Daniel Zielinski.
Zielinski asked the agency to resolve the apparent inconsistency.
Among other things, the RMA also suggested a change on the early warning form allowing for several ranges of production dates and TINs to be listed under one given brand, line and size of recalled tires. A button providing an additional form for listing additional production periods and TINs would accomplish this task, Zielinski said.