The RMA called for a return to mandatory registration at a December 2014 conference of the National Transportation Safety Board. RMA spokespersons, however, said they did not approach the White House to have a mandatory registration provision in the GROW AMERICA package.
“Recall effectiveness has been a new issue over the past few years,” Norberg said in her Clemson speech. “Where do tires fit in the recall landscape?”
Federal statistics show, out of 236 million auto parts recalled between 2004-14, tires comprised 5.1 million of the total, according to Norberg. This is only a small fraction of the total, she said, but still not an inconsiderable number.
“Of the ways to identify recalled tires, tire registration is the biggest one,” Norberg said. But independent dealers have had very low registration rates since voluntary registration became law in 1982, she said.
On the other hand, “dependent” dealers—such as company-owned stores—have registration rates of more than 90 percent, Norberg said.
“Even if all the tire registration cards were handed out to consumers at the point of sale, the problem would be to get consumers to mail them in,” she said. “Once they've walked out the dealer's door, we've lost them.”
Other ways of finding recalled tires, Norberg said, would include collecting vehicle identification numbers during tire registration and creating a user-friendly website for consumers to look up recalls.
NHTSA has a site on www.safercar.com to do just that, she said, but even people in the tire industry had a hard time navigating it.
“That's not a good thing,” Norberg said.
In his keynote speech at the conference, Selleck endorsed a return to mandatory registration.
“We manufacture and sell a safety product,” he said. “Every tire we can't get at in a recall is a problem. Some may have worn out, but we can't account for them.”
Just before the Clemson conference began, the Tire Industry Association issued a news release opposing the mandatory registration language in the GROW AMERICA Act.
“There is no timetable for the (Transportation) Secretary to initiate the rulemaking, no specific language regarding how long the records must be maintained by the distributor/dealer, no indication on how retailers would be required to electronically transmit the information, and most importantly it could still lead to a mandatory system,” the TIA said.