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The revised RMA standards are more stringent than were the original standards. Except for the omission of the cut growth requirement, they are comparable to VESC regulation V-1; they do not, however, provide as great a safety factor, since the revised RMA standards are based on the increased load ratings of the Tire & Rim Association. (No basis for the higher load ratings has been presented. As a matter of interest, even the lower ratings in the 1964-65 Yearbook of TRA are not as conservative as those published by the Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders Ltd. in Great Britain.) The revised standards are not as stringent as the Federal specification.
Comparison of tiro standards for passenger cars (tires with 4-ply rating)
80 miles per hour.
100 Parcent; u hours, 12
60 miles per hour.
120 percont; A hour, 146 120 percent; a hours, 140 <100 percent; 2 hours, <100
1,000 to 1,300.....
100 percent ..........
<100 percent ...........
30 pounds per square Inch ..... 80 pounds per square Inch .....
2 hours at 80 miles per hour..... 2 hours at 80 mila per boor.....
0.5 hour at 76 miles per hour; 0.5 hour at 60 mila per bour;
0.5 hour at 80 miles per hour; 0.5 hour at 80 mlla per bour;
0.6 hour at 86 miles par bour. 0.8 bour at 86 mllos per hour. Bead unseating: Pounds minimum. No requirement....
0.6 hour at 80 miles per boor;
0.6 hour at 86 millas par bour.
1 Test load la percent of marimum recommended by TRA in curront Yearbook.
• Test loed is determined by a complicated proonduro and will result in a value logo
of the load ratinga in
Spocinc value for tast loads aro rivon. Tb. 100-percent values are the samo u thono
Bizo factor to the sum of ontaldo diameter of thro plus section width.
FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION,
Washington, D.C., January 28, 1966. Hon. WARREN G. MAGNUBON, Chairman, Committee on Commerce, U.S. Senate, Washington, D.C.
DEAR MR. CHAIRMAN: This is in response to your letter of October 20, 1965, requesting the Commission's views on S. 2669, 89th Congress, 1st session, a bill to establish safety standards for motor vehicle tires sold or shipped in interstate commerce, and for other purposes.
The bill provides that it may be cited as the Tire Safety Act of 1966. As we interpret the bill, it would delegate to the Secretary of Commerce the authority to promulgate minimum safety standards for tires used on "motor vehicles," which is defined in the bill as meaning passenger cars and station wagons used on the highways, except those regulated under certain specific provisions of the Interstate Commerce Act. The bill further authorizes and directs the Secretary of Commerce to develop a uniform grading system for motor vehicle tires.
It specifically provides that the Secretary shall establish and publish as interim minimum safety standards in the Federal Register the tire safety standards substantially as prescribed by the Vehicle Equipment Safety Commission, an interstate agency which was established pursuant to a joint resolution of Congress.
Two years after the effective date of the bill and thereafter as he deems necessary, the Secretary is required to review and revise to the extent necessary the aforementioned interim minimum safety standards. In such revised minimum standards, the Secretary is required to prescribe the maximum permissible loads for each motor vehicle tire and the application of such standards. The bill then sets out what the Secretary shall do in carrying out this requirement. Among the activities that the Secretary is directed to undertake in carrying out the safety standard provisions of the bill is the conducting of a research and development program to (1) improve minimum safety standards for new tires, and (2) develop minimum safety standards for retreaded tires.
He is also directed to take into consideration such factors as size, load-carrying ability and its relation to the type of expected use, skid resistance, blowout resistance, resistance to curb-striking and pothole or bump damage, cornering ability, and rim resistance. He is further required to consult with interested industries, technical organizations, and Federal, State, and local agencies.
The bill requires the Secretary to make recommendations to Congress by January 31, 1971, with respect to the implementation of the grading system of motor vehicle tires he is directed to establish.
The Secretary is authorized to conduct such testing and inspection as he deems necessary for the enforcement of the provisions of the bill.
The bill probibits the manufacture for sale, the sale, or the offering for sale, in interstate commerce, or the importation to the United States as well as the introduction, delivery for introduction, or transportation, in interstate commerce, or for the purpose of sale, or delivery after sale, in interstate commerce of any tire which does not comply with the safety standards prescribed by the Secretary
Any tire manufactured or introduced into commerce in violation of the prohibited acts is liable to seizure in any district court of the
United States within the jurisdiction in which the tire is found. Such seizure is to be in conformity as nearly as may bo to that followed in cases in admiralty, except that a jury trial may be accorded when demanded.
The bill provides for the issuing of injunctions and restraining orders and contains provisions concerning criminal contempt for violations thereof.
Tire manufacturers are required by the bill to maintain such records and make such reports as requested by the Secretary to insure compliance.
The Federal Trade Commission wholeheartedly supports the objectives and purpose of S. 2669.
As your committoo is aware, the Commission in January of 1965 held 3 days of public hearings on various aspects of tire marketing. Among the subjects considered was the nood for minimum safety standards, the adequacy of existing standards and the need for a system of tiro grading. Since the hearings, the Commission's staff has continued to study the problems to encompass current developments including the recent revisions in the existing standards of the Vehicle Safety Equipment Commission effective October 10, 1965, and of the Rubber Manufacturers Association, effective January 1, 1966.
In our opinion, the need for minimum safety standards for automotive tires is now beyond question. The industry, by its adoption of such standards, has recognized their necessity. The activity of the Vehicle Equipment Safety Commission in adopting tire standards only serves to buttress our conclusion, based on our hearings and our study of all the authorities, that minimum safety standards are necessary and that the present industry standards are inadequate for that purpose.
The Commission has received substantial evidence that, even with their recent revisions, the Vehicle Equipment Saftey Commission and Rubber Manufacturers Association's standards fail to provide realistic and adequate safeguards against unsafe tiras. Both sets of existing standards fail to make any provision for the problem of "overload.” It is our understanding that overload is a situation which exists when the curb weight of a vehicle plus the designed load capacity in terms of passengers and luggage exceed the load-carrying capacity of tires mounted on the vehicle. Much evidence was prosentod at the Commission bearing, including a statement by a tire manufacturer, that many original equipment tires mounted on new çars may be inadequate to safely carry the passenger and baggage load the vehicle is intended to carry.
Our study has also raised grave doubts whether the performance requirements and the allowable tolerances in the existing standards, as revised, are sufficiently stringent in light of current high-speed turnpike and other highway use. The specific levels of desirable performance and tolerance are technical matters which we are not equipped to evaluate adequately. Although our staff has discussed this problem with the National Bureau of Standards and has been advised that the requirements and tolerances of the current standards are too low, we shall leave specific comments to the Secretary of Commerce, who we understand will present his views to this committee. A further defect in the existing minimum safety standards, which we feel is of utmost significance, is their enforcement provisions. The Rubber Manufacturers Association's standards are described as "voluntary.” Manufacturers whose tires fail to meet the standards suffer only the withdrawal of its name from the association's certified tire directory and the right to advertise that its tires meet the standards. The manufacturer may still offer these tires for sale without restriction. In our opinion, reliance only on “voluntary” standards for a product involving the life and safety of the purchaser is not a sufficient safeguard of the public interest.
Enforcement of the Vehicle Equipment Safety Commission's standards is also voluntary at the present time and their implementation will be left to the individual member States and the statutory authority available to each. There is no assurance that all of the member States will adopt the proposed standards and even if they do, this will still leave the six States which are not members and which accordingly are not parties to these standards. Moreover, even adoption of those standards by all members will provide no assurance that the standards will be enforced equally in each State. In our opinion, the motoring public of the entire United States is entitled to uniform protection of mandatory minimum safety standards.
With respect to the grading system which is provided for in the bill under consideration, the testimony received during our proceeding indicated that a great deal of consumer confusion and deception exists as a result of grade representations and claims currently used in the marketing of tires.
We believe confusion and deception are the results inherent in the existing situation where approximately 950 different tire names currently marketed represent the products of approximately 120 privatelabel marketers and 14 tire manufacturers; where tires may be designated as to grade, i.e., "premium," "first line," "second line," etc., regardless of the tire's performance or safety; where the price of the tire has no discernible relation to its grade or safety level; and where many of the descriptive terms employed, such as ply rating, 100 level, and other grade designations, have no fixed meaning or definitive value under existing industry practices.
Testimony adduced at the hearing reflects that one manufacturer's first-line tire may be inferior to another manufacturer's third-line tire; and a manufacturer may supply a tire represented by him as a third-line tire to a private-label marketer who is free to designate it as his "premium" tire.
Wo feel that S. 2669 goes a long way in providing a solution to both the safety and the grade problems which hearings and our study demonstrated exist in the marketing of automobile tires. Section 3 eliminates the "voluntary” nature of existing standards by adopting the Vehicle Equipment Safety Commission's standards as an interim measure. Although, as we have indicated, we are not satisfied as to the adequacy of these standards, we feel that their interim adoption immediately under this bill will be at least an initial step toward the establishment of minimum safety standards.
Section 4 of the bill directs the Secretary of Commerce to review and revise the Vehicle Equipment Safety Commission's standards prescribed in section 3 and specifically provides for the establishment of maximum load capacities for tires. These actions are of absolute necessity and will eliminate ultimately the defects and