TIA Vows to Fight RMA Proposal for Mandatory Tire Registration

Bowie, Md. – The Tire Industry Association (TIA) announced today that they would fight a proposal from the Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA) 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 (NTSB), the RMA cited low registration rates of tires sold by independent retailers as the reason behind the proposal.

TIA Senior Vice President of Training, Kevin Rohlwing, participated on the same panel and called for a collective effort to educate consumers on the importance of registering tires. Rohlwing pointed to the fact that the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), RMA and tire manufacturers have made little to no effort to educate consumers as well as the fact 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’s presentation also 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. He questioned why tire retailers are treated differently and manufacturers are allowed to shift the burden onto the back of small businesses. Rohlwing cautioned the NTSB to consider all of the factors related to the low rate of tire registration before making any recommendations to NHTSA.

Tire retailers must still comply with current tire registration laws that require them to provide the customer with the Tire Identification Number (TIN) on a card so the consumer can register their tires. And while RMA’s proposal for mandatory tire registration is simply a recommendation, TIA will be stepping up efforts to promote voluntary registration and educate consumers on the importance of registering their tires. TIA is currently working on a “Tire Safety Starts with Registration” video, to be released in early 2015, as the next addition to its consumer education video series. TIA will follow up and submit additional comments to the docket regarding the attempt by the tire manufacturers to place the burden for tire registration on retailers.

“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. The Association also wants to remind retailers that Congressional action will be required to overturn voluntary registration in favor of mandatory registration. This fight is far from over and TIA will utilize all resources and expertise to ensure that the voluntary tire registration program remains in place.

TIA is hosting a Federal Lobby Day on February 5, 2015 to meet with representatives on Capitol Hill to discuss the Highway Bill. The issue of tire registration will now be added to the agenda. For more information on this effort, please contact Roy Littlefield IV, TIA Government Affairs Manager, at rlittlefield2@tireindustry.org


About TIA: The Tire Industry Association, with a 90 year history representing all segments of the national and international tire industry, is the leading advocate, as well as, instructor in technical training of tire service technicians. For more information, visit www.tireindustry.org or call 800-876-8372.

# # #