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®: CRE Regulatory Action of the Week

DOT: Is It a Department of Deception?

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) continues to deceive the public about ending the allowable overloading of tires used on commercial vehicles. Despite at least three Federal Register notices committing the agency to specific dates for ending tire overloading - and numerous deaths attributed, in part, to the overloading of tires - DOT may go back on its word to end the overloading of tires used to transport manufactured housing. The latest overloading extension would come despite the Department's previously published conclusion that such overloading needed to be terminated due to its association with a tire failure rate that was "too high." MBS has written to DOT to protest this perversion of the regulatory process which threatens public safety.

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    November 29, 2001

    Mr. Neil R. Eisner
    Assistant General Counsel
    Office of Regulation and Enforcement
    US Department of Transportation
    Room 10424
    400 Seventh Street, S.W.
    Washington, DC 20590

    Dear Mr. Eisner:

    DOT has announced three times it was terminating the overloading of tires used to transport manufactured housing.

    1. February 18, 1998. "Because the agencies have sufficient data indicating that overloading is potentially unsafe, unless both agencies are persuaded that 18 percent overloading does not pose a risk to the traveling public, or the ability of motor carriers to transport manufactured homes, any overloading of tires will be prohibited at the end of this two-year period." [emphasis added] 63 Fed. Reg. 8330.

    2. November 21, 2000. "The delay of the termination date will enable motor carriers transporting manufactured housing to continue loading tires at up to 18 percent above the load rating until December 31, 2001." 65 Fed. Reg. 70218.

    3. April 20, 2001. "We have concluded that this rate [of failure on 18% overloaded tires] is too high and that the agency should take what actions it can to lower the rate. We have therefore decided to end the allowance of overloaded tires on manufactured housing." [emphasis added] 66 Fed. Reg. 20347.

    Given that over a three year period DOT has repeatedly stated that tire overloading would no longer be permitted, we are shocked to learn that the agency is again considering an additional extension of overloading. DOT's continued deceptive practice of misleading both the public and tire manufacturers on this issue has jeopardized public safety and is costly to the domestic tire manufacturing industry.

    Given DOT's repeated statements that tire overloading would be terminated at the end of 2001, as well as the strong public concern of tire safety in the wake of the tragedies related to overloaded tires, we find it unconscionable that the Department would permit any additional extensions of tire overloading.


    Jim Tozzi