NHTSA statistics, according to the RMA, show that about 33% of cars have a significantly underinflated tire, and that 660 fatalities and 33,000 injuries occur every year as a result of low tire pressure-related crashes.
The AAA receives about four million roadside assistance calls annually due to tire-related incidents, RMA noted. And the RMA’s own research found that more than 80% of drivers do not know how to properly check their tire pressure.
In these days of high gasoline costs, properly inflated tires can also improve gas mileage by around 3.3% and save 9 cents per gallon at the gas pump, according to the Energy Department.
The goal of NTSW 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 Don Shea, RMA president and CEO. “Properly inflated tires promote safety, help tires last longer and maximize fuel efficiency.”
Other points revealed in a RMA nationwide survey conducted in February included:
Only 19% 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% 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% wrongly believe that the correct pressure is found on the tire sidewall.
73% of drivers do not check the tire pressure in their spare tire.
NTSW was started by RMA as part of its “Be Tire Smart Play Your PART” program to promote proper tire care.
Among the list of Be Tire Smart partners are: AAA, American Car Care Centers, Big 10 Tires, Belle Tire, Big O Tires, Discount Tire Co., Firestone Complete Auto Care, Goodyear Auto Service Centers, Kaufman Tire, Les Schwab, Merchant’s Tire, National Tire and Battery (NTB), National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA), Northwest Tire, Peerless Tires, Pep Boys, ProCare Automotive Services, Sears Automotive Centers, STS Tire and Auto Centers, Sullivan Tires, Tire Centers LLC, Tire Factory, Tire Kingdom, Tires Plus, Town Fair Tires, VIP Parts, Tires and Service and many others.
More information about the “Be Tire Smart Play Your PART” program and National Tire Safety Week can be found at www.betiresmart.org. Additional tire safety information can be found at NHTSA’s Web site, www.safercar.gov and on AAA club Web sites at www.aaa.com.