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Tire registration legislation proposed to cut down on automobile accidents

The National Transportation Safety Board recently recommended 11 safety measures for tires on the nation’s roads, including that Congress pass legislation requiring that new tires be registered. Why? There are roughly 500 deaths per year caused by automobile accidents that stem from tires, the NTSB believes. Some stem from faulty tires that are recalled by the manufacturer but never brought in to the manufacturer to have the tires repaired or replaced, and some arise from tires that were underinflated or punctured.

Of these reasons, the NTSB’s suggestions focus on recalled tires that remain on the nation’s roads. “When you see 33,000 accidents a year, in relation to defective tires, we know we have a serious tire problem and a good piece of that relates to recalls,” NTSB Chairman Chris Hart told reporters. The NTSB’s panel observed that only 20% of recalled tires are brought in to be replaced. That is largely because no nationwide system exists to enforce recall, which is generally done with a letter to a vehicle’s owner. No registration of tires is required, so there are no reliable records of where owners live. And dealers, who sell a large percentage of tires nationwide, are not required to follow up with recalls.

Several methods were suggested. One recommended that tire manufacturers use a Tire Identification Number (TIN) system that would enable an internet search of the TIN, which is already carried on the sides of tires. Another was a recommendation that newer technology, such as chips or codes that could be scanned, be embedded in the tire so that independent tire dealers could quickly identify them.

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