The Tire Industry Association will fight a proposal from the Rubber Manufacturers Association to reinstate a mandatory tire registration program. During a panel on tire registration and recalls at the Passenger Vehicle Tire Safety Symposium held by the National Transportation Safety Board, the RMA cited low registration rates of tires sold by independent retailers as the reason behind the proposal. RMA reported that overall fewer than 20% of all tires are registered.
During the same panel, Kevin Rohlwing, TIA senior vice president of training, called for a collective effort to educate consumers on the importance of registering tires. Rohlwing said that the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, RMA and tire manufacturers have made little to no effort to educate consumers. Rohlwing also noted that low registration rates are more reflective of consumer apathy than the lack of compliance on the part of independent tire dealers.
“We are incredibly disappointed that RMA supports a legislative solution to the problem of low tire registration rates rather than educational,” remarked Roy Littlefield, TIA executive vice president. “TIA has been working with RMA on a number of legislative issues like tire repair and used tires over the past few years, but there have been no discussions related to mandatory tire registration. We had talked about working together to educate and improve voluntary numbers, so it was a total shock to hear that they are proposing legislation over education.”
Rohlwing drew comparisons to NHTSA’s system for registering child restraints where the retailer does not play any role nor bear any responsibilities with regards to the process. Rohlwing questioned why tire retailers are treated differently and manufacturers are allowed to shift the burden onto the back of small businesses.
Tire retailers must still comply with current tire registration laws that require them to provide the customer with the TIN on a card so the consumer can register their tires. TIA noted that the RMA’s proposal for mandatory tire registration is simply a recommendation. However, TIA will step up its efforts to promote voluntary registration and educate consumers on the importance of registering their tires.
“It’s important for the industry to recognize that while the RMA’s solution to the tire registration problem is to legislate rather than educate, they took the reverse approach when commenting on tire service life,” said Rohlwing. “During the panel on tire aging, RMA repeatedly defended their ‘educate not legislate’ approach citing the lack of scientific data that proves legislation is necessary. Interestingly enough, there is a similar lack of data regarding the number of retailers who supply the registration cards in accordance with the law and the percentage of consumers who follow thru with the registration process.”
TIA will continue to monitor the situation and maintain an ongoing dialogue with NTSB to make sure that the voices of independent tire dealers are heard on this issue, said TIA.