Roadside Rubber Brings Highway Blame Game

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ATLANTA,None - Channel 2's coverage of the rash of roadside rubber in Georgia brought swift reaction from the retread industry on Friday.

State transportation officials blame budget cuts for fewer clean-up crews and more rubber debris on the highway. Retread tire makers told Channel 2's Jim Strickland their process is not to blame, and they offered a federal study to back them up.

"Every area in here is actually an inspection," explained Ken Cole as he and Channel 2's Jim Strickland toured Atlanta Tire Specialists.

PDF: Federal Report On Road Rubber

Strickland toured Atlanta Tire Specialists in Covington. The factory retreads 200 tires per day according to company spokesman Ken Cole. Cole said while the tread is what you see on the road, it's the original tire casing that's most likely to blame for the blowouts. Casing failures are blamed on underinflation, according to Cole.

"If every trucker would spend ten minutes a day checking their pressures, we could help dramatically reduce the rubber on the side of the road," said Cole.

A U.S. Department of Transportation study looked at more than 1100 tire fragments on the side of the highways.

The report blamed 70 percent of failures on road hazards or poor tire maintenance.

It makes clear retread manufacturing is blameless in the vast majority of tire trouble, according to Cole.

"Everybody in here knows their job inside and out, and they know what they're looking for and they know what they're doing," said plant safety auditor Ruby Whitehead.

Officials with the retread tire company told Strickland if drivers still had doubts about the retread process, they should consider the next time they land at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport they will very likely land on a set of retread tires.


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