WASHINGTON—Tire fuel efficiency labeling "has not fallen off the table," but it will be a while before the missing pieces are in place, according to the nation's top highway safety official.
David Strickland, administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, addressed a meeting of the Washington Automotive Press Association Aug. 14 about current and pending regulations.
NHTSA decreed a final rule in March 2010 mandating grades for tire rolling resistance, treadwear and traction. However, the agency left the standard's provisions on labeling formats and consumer education programs for later. Proposals for those provisions have not yet been issued.
The agency is still working hard on those issues, according to Strickland.
"We are fixated on getting the standards work done, and the people who work on the label are also the people who work on the standard," he said.
The bulk of Strickland's speech concentrated on NHTSA's work on advanced vehicle safety technologies, such as automated driving, vehicle-to-vehicle communications, driver alcohol detectors and crash avoidance technology. "Crash avoidance is the next major chapter in agency history," he said.
Strickland also discussed NHTSA's final rule, announced the day of his speech, to require auto and motorcycle manufacturers to provide consumers with a free online tool enabling them to search for recalls by vehicle identification number.
The standard, which had not been published in the Federal Register as of Aug. 14, will allow consumers to determine instantly whether action is required to address uncompleted safety recalls affecting their vehicles, the agency said.
Auto and motorcycle manufacturers must update the recall information weekly, and also must inform NHTSA of the types of propulsion systems and crash avoidance technologies their vehicles have.
The standard will go into effect next year, though several auto makers are already providing the information it mandates, NHTSA said.