Record Participation for 8th National Tire Safety Week

More Than 21,000 Outlets to Offer RMA’s Be Tire Smart Materials

For more information contact:
Dan Zielinski
(202) 682-4846
dzielinski@rma.org

WASHINGTON, D.C.June 5, 2009 - The eighth annual National Tire Safety Week, June 7-13, will feature record participation by tire retailers, auto dealers and auto service stations nationwide, according to the Rubber Manufacturers Association.

More than 5.5 million Be Tire Smart brochures have been shipped to be distributed to consumers in more than 21,000 retail outlets nationwide.

A project sponsored by the Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA) found that about half of surveyed passenger vehicles had at least one under inflated tire. More alarming is that nearly one in five vehicles had at least one significantly under inflated tire that can compromise safety and waste gas.

Among the RMA tire pressure survey findings:

• Only 9% of vehicles had four properly inflated tires.
• 50% of vehicles had at least one under inflated tire.
• 19% of vehicles had at least one tire under inflated by 8 pounds per square inch (psi.)
• 26% of vehicles had at least one tire under inflated by 6 psi.
• 38% of vehicles had at least one tire under inflated by 4 psi.

Although all new vehicles are now equipped with tire pressure monitoring systems, these systems issue a low pressure warning only after tire pressure drops 25 percent below the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended pressure. In many cases, an 8 psi loss of pressure would not trigger a warning light and would cause a loss of fuel economy and could lead to a vehicle safety issue.

Tire pressure information was collected by several tire retail companies that have partnered with RMA in the Be Tire Smart – Play Your PART program.

Tire pressure data collected on 5,478 vehicles in the Boston, Providence, Jacksonville, Orlando, West Palm Beach, Philadelphia, St. Louis, Phoenix, Albuquerque, Austin, Houston, Chicago, Detroit and Portland, OR areas. Tire retailers participating in the data collection were: Sullivan Tire and Auto (Boston, Providence); National Tire and Battery (NTB) (Chicago, Houston); Discount Tire Company (Albuquerque, Phoenix, Austin, Detroit); Auto Tire (St. Louis); Les Schwab Tire (Portland, OR); Pep Boys (Philadelphia); and Tire Kingdom (Jacksonville, Orlando, West Palm Beach, FL).

“We are extremely grateful to our retail partners who committed resources and effort to help collect this information,” said Dan Zielinski, RMA senior vice president, public affairs. “The data is very helpful in demonstrating the need for continued education efforts to help consumers understand the importance of regular tire care.”

Survey fact sheets and other information about National Tire Safety Week can be found at www.betiresmart.org. Web site visitors also can listen to four radio public service announcements that are being distributed to 3,000 stations nationwide. Two of the announcements feature David Ragan, NASCAR driver of the #6 Discount Tire Ford Fusion.

“Gaining access to a NASCAR driver these past few years for public service announcements has helped RMA reach millions of radio listeners with tire care messages,” Zielinski said. “Discount Tire has been very generous in helping secure Mr. Ragan’s cooperation and we deeply appreciate their commitment to our Be Tire Smart program.”

The Be Tire Smart program is funded by RMA’s tire manufacturer members: Bridgestone Americas, Inc., Continental Tire North America, Inc., Cooper Tire & Rubber Company, The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, Michelin North America, Inc., Pirelli North America, Inc., Toyo Tire Holdings of Americas Inc. and Yokohama Tire Corporation.

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The Rubber Manufacturers Association is the national trade association for the rubber products industry. Its members include companies that manufacture various rubber products, including tires, hoses, belts, seals, molded goods, and other finished rubber products. RMA members employ over 120,000 workers and account for more than $21 billion in annual sales.