A recent ABC News investigation showed that the federal government does not provide any way to search for tire’s safety history through its Tire Identification Number (TIN). Now, ABC reports that United States Senator Ed Markey (D-Mass.) has followed up on these findings and raised questions about a potential database to Department of Transportation (DOT) Secretary Anthony Foxx. Markey submitted the question on the record after Foxx appeared before lawmakers earlier this month.
The TIN code allows a manufacturer to indicate when and where a tire was made, which is useful in determining if it is affected by a recall. It is made up of 11 or 12 numbers and letters.
The DOT’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA,) is responsible for tire safety. For years, consumer advocates have been pushing NHTSA to provide a TIN-searchable database as a quick and easy way to find out if a tire is safe. When questioned by ABC News about such a database, a NHTSA spokesperson stated that the agency provides other methods for recall notifications, such as email alerts and following the agency through Facebook and Twitter.
Markey is a member for the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science & Transportation, according to ABC. In referring to the investigation, he stated that “there is no database that is searchable by TINs on NHTSA’s database and often no way for consumers, vendors or manufacturers to quickly and easily access and read the TINs on tires themselves. This has led to accidents, injuries and deaths as people drove in vehicles with recalled tires that later failed.” He questioned if the DOT would be willing to implement such a project and “if not, why not?”
The Rubber Manufacturer’s Association, the major tire industry trade group, encourages the idea of a TIN-searchable database. Dan Zielinkski, a spokesman for the group, told ABC “It might be a very effective way to track a large database of recalls that span all manufacturers by potentially a government website,”