Officials working to fix flawed tire recall system to prevent accidents

Michael Finney Image
Thursday, July 23, 2015
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Officials are making an effort to fix a flawed tire recall system to help prevent accidents from happening on the road.

Recalled tires known to be subject to blow outs may be on the car you're driving.

Now, an effort is moving forward to modernize what some consider an inefficient tire recall system.

Last year, 7 On Your Side bought three recalled tires from Costco that are known to puncture, which can lead to death and there is now new pressure to remove recalled tires from both the road and store shelves.

A scanner is used to keep track of tires in what some see as the answer to an inefficient tire recall system.

Federal regulators estimate just 20 to 38 percent of recalled tires are taken off the road.

Bill Meyerhoff of Seaview Tire and Brakes in Pacifica thinks a scanning system is certainly better than what we have now. "It would sure be a time saver and it would be a lot more accurate," he said.

Under the current system, recall notices are sent to bill via the mail, but he estimates two-thirds of tire manufacturers he deals with don't send out notices.

He's forced to look up the information on a government data base. "I'll just scroll through, you can see there's about 20 on each screen here," Meyerhoff said.

There are dozens of manufacturers each with many models and with different tire identification numbers that are 12 digits long. "There is some margin of error there. We can make a mistake in transposing one of those numbers," Meyerhoff said.

Last year, investigators said two people were killed and eight injured after a church van overturned in Florida when the tread separated from a recalled tire.

The Tire Industry Association came out in support this week of a system to make tires scannable to alert everyone of recalls. "It's actually very feasible," Alien Technology spokesperson Neil Mitchell said.

Some companies he says already have scannable tires. "There are companies either embedding a RFID device inside of a tire or on the outside wall of the tire," Mitchell said.

But the Rubber Manufacturers Association says it's too early to implement the system because the infrastructure is not in place.

It's supporting a Senate bill being debated that would make registration of tires mandatory when they are sold.

Rubber Manufacturers Association released a statement saying: "Failure to act on this legislation will merely prolong a broken tire registration system."

Alien Technology estimates adding scannable technology to tires that would add just $1 to the cost of a tire.