Modern Tire Dealer

OCT 2018

Magazine for the professional tire industry

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M T D O c t o b e r 2 0 1 8 4 E d i t o r i a l B oth the U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association (USTMA) and Tire Industry Association (TIA) support legisla- tion specifically designed to prevent the installation of unsafe used tires on motor vehicles. at begs the question, "Who wouldn't?" Why would anyone support anything that is unsafe? Daredevils and adrenaline junkies aside, no one would. at leads to my next question: Why do we need legislation essentially codifying the obvious? What's next, legislation banning people from playing with fire or extremely sharp knives? To date, only three states have passed bills that prohibit the installation or sale of unsafe used tires: Maryland in 2013, Colorado in 2014 and New Jersey in 2017. Arizona (HB2160), Indiana (HB1174), Ohio (SB223), Tennessee (HB1986 and SB1985) and Texas (HB2774) have similar legislation in various stages of development. Almost all the bills similarly define when a used tire is unsafe, using language draed by USTMA and TIA working together. For example, here's what the latest bill, Ohio SB223, defines as unsafe: • worn-out tires with tread depths of under 2/32 inch; • tires with damage that exposes inner components such as body plies or steel belts; • tires with inner liner damage; • tires with improper repairs; • damaged tires treated with tire sealants but not subsequently repaired to industry standards; • tires missing their U.S. Department of Transportation Identification Number (TIN). "Safety is the tire manufacturing industry's number one priority," said Anne Forristall Luke, CEO and president of USTMA. "Tire manufacturers share the concern of federal and state highway safety officials, safety advocates, the automotive industry and others that our nation must do more to mitigate the risk of vehicle crashes. "at is why USTMA advocates state legislation to prohibit the installation of unsafe used tires. is legislation targets specific used tires that exhibit well-defined criteria that would make a tire unsafe." USTMA has taken point on rallying state lawmakers around unsafe used tire legislation. TIA has "assisted indirectly with grassroots efforts by mobilizing local dealers and state and regional associations," said Roy Littlefield IV, TIA's director of government affairs. "TIA opposes the sale or installation of unsafe used tires. Used tires that exhibit out-of-service conditions should not be sold or installed. We consider the condition to be a factor." In truth, USTMA isn't comfortable with the sale of any used passenger or light truck tires. "Once a used tire is resold as a replacement, it's a risky proposition for motorists," says USTMA on its website. USTMA explains that there is risk associated with the instal- lation of used tires "that have uncertain or unknown history." In addition, not all tire damage is outwardly visible. When I asked Luke if there is any way to make sure a used tire is safe, here is what she told me. "All new tires sold in the U.S. must meet stringent federal safety standards. Once a tire has been mounted on a vehicle and driven, it's considered a used tire, and it may be resold with virtually no restrictions. "ere are many questions consumers should ask when purchasing used tires: How was it previously used? Was it stored properly? Was it safely maintained? Was it ever repaired? Every variable has a major impact on driver safety. Because damaged or improperly maintained tires are outright dangerous to all drivers, USTMA is focused on prohibiting the installation of tires that meet certain conditions known to be unsafe." USTMA's definition of an unsafe used tire is more in-depth than the statutory language it promotes at the state level. In Tire Information Service Bulletin Vol. 45, No. 5, it does not recommend installing a used consumer tire if it exhibits any of 16 specific characteristics. Luke is also a realist. "Millions of used tires would still enter the market every year under any USTMA-supported proposal," she said. As part of its Certified Automotive Tire Service Training Program, TIA teaches tire dealers how to analyze tire conditions for optimum performance. e same inspection steps can be used to help determine whether a used tire is unfit for sale. With the definition of an unsafe used tire pretty well established, plus training available on how to inspect a tire, I still wish we would try and stay away from government intervention on this issue. Governance and micro-management go hand-in-hand all too oen. At least neither USTMA nor TIA is pursuing unsafe used tire regulations on the federal level, choosing instead to let states decide for themselves. Independent tire dealers have been successfully selling used tires to people in need for more than 100 years. ey know what to do. And if they need help, TIA and the USTMA can guide them. ■ If you have any questions or comments, please email me at Unsafe used tire laws IF WE KNOW WHAT TO AVOID, WHY DO WE NEED LEGISLATION? Bob Ulrich By

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