Clearing Up Some End-of-Year Business - Tire Review Magazine

Clearing Up Some End-of-Year Business

There are a few loose bits I wanted to chat about before the holidays take over all of our schedules….

First of all, congratulations to everyone on a great 2013! Well, great from the standpoint that there were absolutely NO announced price increases for the entire year. I’m sure there were a number of unannounced price “adjustments” in 2013, and any number of “midnight specials” quietly communicated to dealers. Yeah, we do hear about those, Mr. Tiremaker.

But after a 2011 where we lived through more than 100 individual price hikes (and 2012 where there was just 18 such increases), a whole 365 days without seeing a single price increase news release was truly refreshing.

* * * * * * *

More than a year after his body was found in a curing chamber at the Pirelli Tyre plant in Carlisle, England, a proper inquest was held in the case of 48-year-old George Falder.

The inquest hearing, held with a jury and judge, lasted four days and included testimony from investigators, fellow plant employees, family, friends and occupational safety experts.

Falder was found in a working curing chamber on Sept. 30, 2012. No one noticed he was missing, he suffered no health issues, and there was no reason for him to have been in the chamber.

At the end of it all, there was no firm reason determined for his death. Suicide was ruled out. Falder was painted as an employee who took pride in his work, and would sometimes break regulations by getting up into the chamber to clean out debris, but not that often to cause concern. Family and friends noted his conscientious ways and dedication to his two young children. Pirelli’s safety record and rules were said to be exemplary

The inquest ruled that even though no direct cause could be found, Falder’s death was accidental.

* * * * * * * *

It’s wintertime now, perhaps not calendar wise, but across Canada (and much of the northern U.S.) snow is flying and the annual argument about whether government should mandate the use of winter tires is in full blow.

Quebec, as you know, mandates winter tire use from Dec. 15 to March 15. Those failing to buy and mount winter tires face fines up to $300 (Canadian). Surprisingly, though, no other province requires winter tires. Not Manitoba, Saskatchewan or Alberta, where meters of snow have already fallen. Not British Columbia with all of its ski resorts and mountains. Not the Maritime Provinces, which can see treacherous winters. And not Ontario, which stretches from Buffalo to nearly the Artic Circle and can get pretty tricky.

But there has been a decided volume increase this year to the mandate-winter-tires debate. Certainly much more news coverage on the subject, far more citizen comments, a higher level of input by tire and safety experts, but the usual puffery from office holders.

Will things change? Who knows. But it is an important debate, particularly in those parts of the world that face harsh winter conditions. And it’s not about the safety of the car owner (though certainly important) but the safety of all those that driver could impact.

That’s why government gets engaged. If people were left to make the right – or even better – choices regarding safety, they would most likely not think of the other guy. Let alone think. When their car goes into an uncontrollable slide, they aren’t worried about what they could have done to prevent the other guy from getting injured. Or worse. No, it’s about my freedom to not have winter tires. Or not properly care for my tires.

So let’s continue the debate. Tell me what you think about mandating winter tire use. Pro or con, let’s get everyone’s input.

* * * * * * * *

A personal note to one and all to express my gratitude for your support, kindness and interest. We are truly all about our readers, and work very hard to keep you well informed about the industry and ways to improve your business. We’re blessed to have your interest and never want to do anything to diminish your continued support.

Thank you for another great year. Thank you for the kind words shared. And thank you for caring enough to continue pushing us to be even better each and every day.

Have a very Happy Holidays and a Prosperous New Year!

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