WASHINGTON—A call for mandatory tire registration and a ban on the sale of “unsafe” used tires, disagreements over the need for a second Tire Identification Number and calls for a national recalled tire database were highlights of the first day of the National Transportation Safety Board's Passenger Vehicle Tire Safety Symposium in Washington, D.C.
During her presentation to the symposium, RMA Vice President Tracey Norberg called for the federal government to reinstate mandatory tire registration, citing “very low” registration rates — perhaps in the single digit percentage — among independent tire dealerships, mass merchandisers, car dealers, etc.
In calling for a return to mandatory registration, Norberg cited data that showed registration in the late 1970s and early 1980s, before voluntary registration was instituted, was “about 90 percent.”
Norberg also noted that registration at the retail stores operated by Bridgestone Americas and Goodyear is close to 100 percent.
“The consumer only interfaces with the retailer,” she said, “and increasing registration is really integral to increasing the effectiveness of tire recalls.”
The RMA also sees linking tire registration to the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) as a possible solution to the problem of updating addresses as car owners move.
The Tire Industry Assocation, which represents the independent dealership community, sees the sitation differently.
TIA Vice President Kevin Rohlwing noted that the registration of child car seats, another key safety product, also is voluntary.
Rohlwing did not address the issue of what percentage of tires purchased at independent tire stores are registered, saying only “there is no accurate way to measure that.”
Since the RMA's stance on mandatory registration was made public, TIA has issued a statement proclaiming its opposition to the RMA's position.
Rohlwing told the NTSB that TIA believes having the TIN molded to both sidewalls of a tire would help improve the tire registration process since consumers would be assured of having the TIN information readily available.
Norberg and Rohlwing did agree on the need for a searchable database of recalled tires.
“We need to get that (recall) information in the hands of technicians,” Rohlwing said, “because they could spot this ahead of anything and maybe pull some of these tires out of the system.”
Norberg said the RMA would like to NHTSA develop a database is user-friendly, that does provide the ability for the retailer or consumer to search by TIN, by brand and model, or print out the whole list.
“Right now there is no way to effectively (find out what's been recalled),” Norberg said.