The U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association (USTMA) is urging the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to cut several “outdated, unnecessary or ineffective” federal tire regulations. USTMA provided written comments to the agency’s request for public input to reduce regulatory burdens in accordance with an Administration directive to review existing regulations.
“Our recommendations are aimed at modernizing regulations that apply to tire performance testing and ratings, some of which are 50 years old,” said Anne Forristall Luke, USTMA president and CEO. “The tires being manufactured today by USTMA members are far more highly engineered than those of decades ago, and the regulatory framework needs to evolve, too.
Regulations targeted for elimination include a bead unseat test, a strength test, the Uniform Tire Quality Grading (UTQG) system and several tire sidewall and label markings. USTMA also is recommending a small change to a portion of the current tire endurance test that would better reflect field performance.
USTMA said that both the bead unseat test and strength test are 50-year old procedures designed for bias-ply tire technology that is no longer used in passenger and light truck tires. Neither test contributes to the safety of modern radial tires and only adds non-beneficial compliance costs to both manufacturers and government.
The UTQG system rates tires for temperature, traction and tread wear, and requires the ratings to be molded onto tire sidewalls. The ratings themselves are outdated and, more importantly, don’t actually help consumers comparison-shop. Research shows that tire sidewall information is not effective at communicating meaningful information to consumers during the tire purchase process.
In addition to recommending the elimination of outdated regulations, USTMA also reiterated support for NHTSA’s work to advance a modernized regulatory framework that reflects today’s higher performing tires, particularly the tire fuel efficiency and wet traction standards mandated by the FAST Act. These new requirements will assure the U.S. consumer market doesn’t become a dumping ground for lower-quality tires that fail to meet similarly rigorous standards.