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 December 2006
DAVID HOWLAND is the chairman of the ASTM Committee F09 on Tires. He graduated from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana with a B.S. in Agricultural Engineering in 1989 and an M.S. in Agricultural Engineering in 1990. He is currently the lead engineer for tires within the engineering analysis and test development group at General Motors Corporation. He is also a member of SAE International.

ASTM Committee F09 on Tires
An Active Role in Response to the TREAD Act

ASTM Committee F09 on Tires has a long history of developing tire standards that are necessary to round out U.S. government regulations. Since the passage of the Transportation Recall Enhancement, Accountability and Documentation (TREAD) Act in November of 2000, Committee F09 has renewed its commitment to respond to present day tire related safety standards.

Formation of Committee F09

In 1966, the passage of the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act permitted the U.S. government to establish and subsequently regulate minimum safety standards for motor vehicles and highways. As a result, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, or NHTSA, was created and ultimately promulgated federal motor vehicle safety standards and uniform tire quality grading standards in the 1970s.

After NHTSA was formed, Cecil Brenner — who was an employee of the agency — formed a group comprising individuals from the government, tire industry, commercial testing and general interest areas to discuss tire performance. These ad hoc meetings were held in the late 1960s and into 1970 and covered a variety of tire testing and performance subjects such as wear, traction, wheel and endurance testing. After holding several meetings, Brenner recognized that the best means to establish meaningful test standards for tires would be through the formation of an ASTM committee. He worked to accomplish this and the ASTM Committee F09 on Tires was officially established in 1971.

Committee F09 facilitated the exchange of information and research on tires as well as developing tire test methods, practices, guides and terminology standards. The early years of this committee focused on establishing standards that ultimately provided guidance for NHTSA in defining portions of the Code of Federal Regulations Part 575 — Consumer Information Section 104 on Uniform Tire Quality Grading Standards.


The TREAD Act was signed into law in November 2000. This law mandated that NHTSA conduct rulemaking to “revise and update … the [FMVSS] safety performance requirements for tires.”1 NHTSA responded by initiating its own research as well as soliciting input to guide its work. Committee F09 recognized that it was in a unique position as a voluntary consensus standards body with cross-stakeholder membership to provide guidance by responding with technically pertinent standards in the safety areas identified in NHTSA’s response to the TREAD Act. In the spring of 2002, F09 held a symposium on tire-related TREAD Act standards needs. This forum resulted in the formation of four new task groups within Subcommittee F09.30 on Non-Vehicle Tire Standards. Since then, Subcommittee F09.30 has initiated a total of seven task groups to respond to tire safety performance needs coming from the TREAD Act and related areas.

Many of these task groups are actively conducting research to identify the scientific basis to establish new, technically valid ASTM standards. ASTM receives strong participatory support from NHTSA, and ASTM task group leaders initiate regular meetings to update NHTSA staff on their research and standards work so that the agency and the committee can coordinate and harmonize efforts. Committee F09 hopes that this effort will lead NHTSA to adopt the resulting standards in their rulemaking. The work of three of the most active TREAD Act-related ASTM task groups are highlighted in the pages that follow:

• The Radial Medium Weight Truck Tire Task Group
• The Aged Tire Durability Task Group
• The Lightweight Vehicle Highway-Equivalent Roadwheel Task

Of the 6,500 voluntary consensus standards incorporated by reference in the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations, ASTM standards are listed over 3000 times. There are over 500 citations of ASTM standards in the CFR that deal with transportation and highways. Most recently, in January 2006, NHTSA revised its federal motor vehicle safety standards and referenced ASTM Committee F09 standard F 1805, Test Method for Single Wheel Driving Traction in a Straight Line on Snow- and Ice-Covered Surfaces. Committee F09 has a long history of providing technically credible tire standards to guide NHTSA’s establishment of tire-related regulatory requirements. //


1 Federal Register Volume 67, No. 43, Tuesday, March 5, 2002, page 10050.

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