Survey Shows Few Motorists Are “Tire Smart”

National Tire Safety Week Educates U.S. Drivers on Safety and Cost Benefits of Proper Tire Care

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

Washington, D.C. April 21, 2008 - Under inflated tires increase driving risks, waste fuel and cause tires to wear out faster but few U.S. motorists pay adequate attention to their tires. A national survey by the tire industry showed 85 percent of American drivers do not properly check tire inflation pressure.

The Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA), which commissioned the survey, is sponsoring the seventh annual National Tire Safety Week April 20-26 to help raise awareness about the importance of tire care. With gas prices at record levels again this year, motorists can save time and money by taking five minutes every month to check tires.

“Record high gas prices should be an incentive for motorists to take every step possible to help make their cars and their money go further,” said Dan Zielinski, RMA senior vice president, public affairs. “While our survey found that 61 percent of motorists agreed that checking tire pressure is very important to maximizing fuel economy, only one in seven drivers properly perform this easy task.”

Checking tires is not only a fuel saving tip, it can also be life saving. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), under inflated tires contribute to 660 fatalities and 33,000 injuries each year. NHTSA estimates that about one in four cars, and one in three light trucks, have at least one significantly under inflated tire.

Under inflated tires also cause premature tire wear that can force consumers to replace tires sooner. “Consumers can help their wallets and the environment by paying attention to their tires so they last as long as possible, reducing disposal needs,” Zielinski added.

Additional statistics RMA’s survey show:
• Forty-six percent of drivers wrongly believe the correct inflation pressure is printed on the tire sidewall
• Twenty-six percent of drivers wrongly believe the best time to check tires is when they are warm
• Only one out of every three drivers knows how to tell if tires are bald

RMA recommends that tire pressure be checked at least once every month with a tire gauge. The recommended tire pressure for every vehicle is set by vehicle manufacturers and can be found on a label usually placed on the driver’s door or check the owner’s manual. Also, tires should be checked when cold, or haven’t been driven for at least three hours.

During National Tire Safety Week, RMA and its partners will promote tire care education to motorists throughout the country. More than 18,000 tire dealers, auto dealers, AAA clubs and others throughout the country will provide RMA tire care information brochures to consumers. Additionally, most tire retail locations provide free tire pressure services to motorists throughout the year.

“Our goal during National Tire Safety Week is to encourage all motorists to take five minutes to be tire smart and help save lives, save fuel and save the environment,” Zielinski said.

National Tire Safety Week is an initiative of RMA’s “Be Tire Smart – Play Your PART” program to educate motorists about the importance of proper tire care and promote a safer driving experience. Drivers are encouraged to play their PART in National Tire Safety Week by addressing the four key elements of tire care: Pressure, Alignment, Rotation and Tread.

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, Inc., Pirelli North America, Inc., Toyo Tire Holdings of Americas Inc. and Yokohama Tire Corporation.

For more information about National Tire Safety Week, please visit www.betiresmart.org.

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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.