It has been the law for years that when a purchaser/lessor of a vehicle with new tires takes possession of the vehicle that the dealer must provide a tire registration card to the purchaser/lessor and instruct the purchaser/lessor to mail the registration card to the tire manufacturer.
Nonetheless, it is estimated that only approximately 10% of tires are registered due to the perceived burdensome nature of filling out and mailing the cards. Now the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has proposed new rules allowing this to be done on-line or electronically by the dealer. The goals of the proposal are to potentially reducing costs and to improve tire registration rates. (For those with privacy concerns, the law stipulates that the manufacturer can use the registrant’s information only for a recall).
Illegibility or other ambiguity caused by hand-written information would also be eliminated with electronic registration. The importance of tire registration is well-illustrated by last year’s recall by a New Jersey-based importer of 255,000 Chinese-made tires. A safety defect in the tires had contributed to a 2006 crash in which 2 people died. It was found that the Chinese manufacturer had failed to include the 0.6 mm gum strip between the belts to keep them from separating.
The NHTSA clearly hopes that electronic tire registration coupled with its new e-mail and homepage recall notification capabilities regarding tires and child car seats will greatly aid the giving of prompt and efficient warning to consumers who might otherwise unbeknownst to them be flirting with disaster.