The National Transportation Safety Board has found problems with the tire registration and safety recall system as a result of its “Special Investigation Report on Selected Issues in Passenger Vehicle Tire Safety.” These findings will impact how independent tire dealers register consumer tires.
“Our investigation revealed that very few tires are actually registered for recall purposes,” said Christopher A. Hart, NTSB chairman. “So manufacturers cannot contact drivers if their tires need to be recalled, which can place the drivers and their passengers at risk of a tire-related crash.”
The NTSB conducted its special investigation following probes into four tire-related accidents in Florida, Louisiana, Arizona and California that killed 12 people and injured 42 others. Among its findings was the fact that tire recall recovery rates can be as low as 20%.
The NTSB announced 11 recommendations to solve the problem of tire registration and addressed the issue of tire ageing and maintenance during a meeting on Oct. 27.
Among the top NTSB recommendations to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration was to require all tire dealers to register tires at the point of sale.
The NTSB also recommended that NHTSA:
- Develop voluntary standards, in consultation with tire industry leaders, for a computerized method of capturing, storing, and uploading tire registration information at the point of sale.
- Include fields on the tire registration form for the purchaser’s email address, telephone number, and vehicle identification number to assist manufacturers in locating and notifying owners of recalled tires.
- Require tire manufacturers to include the complete tire identification number on both the inboard and outboard sidewalls of a tire.
- Require tire manufacturers to put the safety recall information for their tires on their websites in a format that is searchable by tire identification number as well as by brand and model; if necessary, seek legislative authority to implement this recommendation.
- Modify the tire recall search feature on your website to allow users to search for recalls by tire identification number as well as by brand and model.
- Determine the level of crash risk associated with tire aging since the implementation of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard Nos. 138 and 139; if, based on this determination, it appears that the aging-related risk should be mitigated, develop and implement a plan to promote the tire-aging test protocol to reduce the risk.
- Develop a consensus document with input from the automotive industry, the tire industry, and safety advocacy groups that addresses tire aging and service life and that also includes best practices for those consumers whose tires are most at risk of experiencing an aging-related failure.
- Develop, in consultation with automotive and tire industry representatives, a tire safety action plan to reduce or mitigate tire-related crashes by promoting technological innovation and adapting regulations as necessary.
The NTSB also recommended to the Rubber Manufacturers Association and AAA to “work together to evaluate the effectiveness of current tire safety efforts in influencing consumer tire purchase and maintenance behaviors and publish the results of the evaluation.”
The final recommendation was made to all the tire manufacturers and their subsidiaries to “put the safety recall information for your tires on your websites in a format that is searchable by tire identification number as well as by brand and model.”
The NTSB is making final revisions to its Special Investigation Report on Selected Issues in Passenger Vehicle Tire Safety and will share it on ntsb.gov upon completion.