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A ‘Direct’ Mandate

Since last year, the writers of the rules have been working overtime at what might be D.C.’s most harried agency, NHTSA. It started in August 2003, when the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit tossed out NHTSA’s call for indirect tire pressure monitoring systems (TPMS) in its final rulemaking on the subject.

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it continues to review all 13 petitions of reconsideration, the agency appears to be trying to satisfy everyone.

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Interestingly, there are some in the agency who say the final rulemaking will be technology neutral ®“ that it won’t endorse a direct or indirect system. But, most speculate the direct TPMS will carry the day.

General Motors said it has provided and continues to provide direct and indirect TPMSs on its vehicles. "We believe both systems are effective," said the automaker, "but we will follow the instructions mandated by the final rulemaking."

For the record, carmakers were required to install a TPMS on 10% of their 2004 passenger vehicle build (vehicles under 10,000 lbs.), 35% in 2005 and 65% in 2006. That is, until the 2nd Circuit court put on the brakes. The next move is NHTSA’s.

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Expect the phase-in timetable for implementation to change when NHTSA makes its final rule announcement. But the mandate won’t change. Soon, every vehicle you service will sport a TPMS. Be sure to check out the Tire Tech article on page 48 in this issue for tips on how to service vehicles equipped with TPMSs.

Scrap Tire Line-Item Fight

Tire dealers in New York aren’t happy about the language in a recently enacted state tax bill that prohibits adding a line item for disposal of a tire to an invoice. As it stands, New York tire dealers must add tire disposal cost to the advertised price of the tire.

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That’s good news for the competition in neighboring Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Vermont border towns that aren’t hamstrung by such mandates. Their ads show tire prices minus tire disposal fees.

Sure Bet For an OSHA Call If®ƒ

…your people aren’t wearing protective eyewear when doing a brake job, you don’t provide eye wash equipment, your emergency exits are blocked or your shop has improper ventilation.

Electrical safety is another big OSHA bugaboo. Do you have clear access to breaker panels, and are all breakers properly labeled? Do you have GFI outlets, as well as working fire extinguishers and proper storage for flammables? These things, along with poor housekeeping, are OSHA lightning rods.

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Are there any broken or defective lifts or jacking equipment in your dealership? Do you have properly installed safety guards on grinding equipment? Make sure capacity labels are clearly visible on any hoist or overhead lifting device along with area safety signs posted where they can be seen.

Do you have "slip and fall" areas cluttered with old tire weights, electrical or pneumatic hoses, a greasy floor and old lug nuts? Keep those areas clean and make sure all aisles and passageways are spotless and free of "slip and fall" hazards. OSHA will let you know if you don’t. Clean up all spills immediately and make sure all floor openings have proper guards. You’ll help yourself if you have a written safety plan and required training safety course for all of your employees and managers.

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Above all, always be prepared. The Boy Scout motto is your best guideline.

Scrap Tires in the Heartland

In early June, the RMA and the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality will jointly host the second Heartland Regional Tire Management Conference in Omaha. Joining in will be environmental representatives from Kansas, Iowa, South Dakota, Minnesota, Missouri, Oklahoma and Colorado.

Conference goers will talk about major markets and alternative uses for scrap tires, including tire-derived fuel, rubber-modified asphalt and stockpile abatement.

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