The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) statistics show that about one in every three cars has a significantly under inflated tire and that 660 fatalities and 33,000 injuries occur every year as a result of low tire pressure-related crashes. AAA reports that each year they receive about four million roadside assistance calls due to tire-related incidents. Not surprisingly, a 2006 Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA) survey found that more than 80 percent of drivers do not know how to properly check their tire pressure.
According to the Department of Energy, properly inflated tires can also improve gas mileage by around 3.3 percent and save nine cents per gallon at the gas pump. RMA’s goal is to encourage motorists to take better care of their tires.
“Not enough drivers are taking proper care of their tires and that can have an effect on vehicle safety,” said Donald Shea, RMA president and chief executive officer. “Properly inflated tires promote safety, help tires last longer and maximize fuel efficiency.”
An RMA nationwide survey conducted in February, found:
Only 19 percent of drivers properly check their tire inflation pressure. Properly checking tires means checking at least once a month before tires have been driven even a mile and inflating them to the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended pressure, not the pressure listed on the tire sidewall.
28 percent of drivers wrongly believe that the best time to check their tires is when they are warm after being driven at least a few miles.
Less than half of drivers know where to find the correct tire pressure on a sticker in their vehicle that’s usually found on the driver’s door or in the owner’s manual. 53 percent wrongly believe that the correct pressure is found on the tire sidewall.
73 percent of drivers do not check the tire pressure in their spare tire.
Each month, three out of four drivers wash their car while only about one in five correctly checks their tire pressure.
To address these driver shortfalls, the RMA announced the kickoff of the fifth annual National Tire Safety Week. As part of its “Be Tire Smart Play Your PART” program, RMA has designated the last week of April to educate motorists about the importance of tire safety and proper tire care. PART stands for Pressure, Alignment, Rotation and Tread. To prepare for this week RMA has worked with more than 14,000 retail partners throughout the country to open their garage doors for drivers looking for instruction and information on tire care and maintenance. Many tire dealers and auto repair shops offer free tire inflation pressure services throughout the year.
The Be Tire Smart program is funded by RMA’s tire manufacturer members: Bridgestone Americas Holding, Inc., Continental Tire North America, Inc., Cooper Tire & Rubber Company, The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, Michelin North America, Pirelli North America, Inc. and Yokohama Tire Corporation.
More information about the “Be Tire Smart Play Your PART” program and National Tire Safety Week can be found at www.betiresmart.org.