SRS, meanwhile, argued that a non-coded date of manufacture is imperative, especially since NHTSA decided against rulemaking on tire age in favor of consumer education.
“When the agency fails to consider human factors in rulemaking, safety suffers,” SRS said. “If the TIN is to be worthy of its intended purpose, the agency should take the next step and require machine-readability.
“Requiring a standardized, computer-readable TIN would provide a much-needed automated method for manufacturers and service providers to quickly address recalled tires or tires that were beyond their service life recommendations.”
SRS recommended radio frequency identification technology as a reasonable solution to tire identification problems.
“With a chip embedded in the sidewall, and inexpensive readers installed in service shops ... motorists could have the status of their tires checked every time they take their vehicle to be serviced, or through their instrument panel,” SRS said.
“In the meantime, if the agency wants to put the burden on consumers—rather than manufacturers—to understand and act on the dangers of tire age, then it is the agency's absolute obligation to make it possible to the public to understand a tire's age,” it said.
Most of the other comments were variations on the RMA or SRS comments. The National Transportation Safety Board said it applauded the concept of revising TINs but said NHTSA's proposals fell short of the goal of making TINs more user-friendly. It suggested making the date of manufacture more conspicuous within the TIN and also requiring a full TIN on both the outer and inner sidewall of a new or retread tire.
The NTSB's interest in TINs stem from two current accident investigations, it said. In one, a tire dealer failed to note that a tire was part of a recall, and four months later the tire failed, causing a deadly crash. In the second, police provided the NTSB with only the partial TIN of a failed tire, not realizing that the full TIN was on the outer sidewall.