NTSB: Passenger car tire registration and recalls are 'inefficient'

By Tyson Fisher, Land Line staff writer | Wednesday, October 28, 2015

The registration and recall system for passenger tires is “ineffective” and the tire industry provides “insufficient guidance on tire aging according to a new report by the National Transportation Safety Board.

NTSB’s report comes after the agency investigated two fatal crashes that involved tire tread separation in a passenger vehicle. In 2013, 539 people were killed in tire-related crashes in passenger vehicles, according to the report. Approximately 33,000 tire-related crashes causing 19,000 injuries occur each year.

Among the many conclusions reached, NTSB found that manufacturers’ registration process was ineffective. Customer contact information was not compiled accurately, resulting in complications when notifying affected customers of any recalls.

The report found some success within the recall system. More than 75 percent of all recalled vehicles have been serviced. However, NTSB found the rate specific to tire recalls can be as low as 20 percent.

NTSB noted that the search tool for tire recalls on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s website is “confusing,” resulting in customers falsely identifying their tires as safe. Manufacturers were also accused of not displaying tire recall information on their website consistently and prominently. NTSB claimed that NHTSA and industry stakeholders have not done enough to guide customers who own tires that are most at risk for aging-related malfunctions.

In the report, NTSB recommended that NHTSA require all tire dealers to register tires at the point of sale. A requirement to have tire identification numbers on both the inboard and outboard sidewalls was also suggested.

Other recommendations include AAA and the Rubber Manufacturers Association to collaborate and evaluate the effectiveness of efforts in influencing consumer tire purchase and maintenance behaviors. Manufacturers were urged to include safety recall information on their websites with the ability to search by identification number or brand and model.

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