Woman Who Ended Split Rim Wheels Passes Away - Tire Review Magazine

Woman Who Ended Split Rim Wheels Passes Away

The Pennsylvania woman, whose perseverance in face of tragedy led to the end of dangerous split rim truck wheels, died recently. Mary Ehmann Auger, 90, died June 24 in West Chester, Pa.

In July 1976, her 18-year-old son Eric was killed when a mounted truck tire he was working on exploded. Parts of the multi-piece split rim wheel struck him in the chest and head, causing massive fatal injuries.

Almost immediately, she took up a crusade to get those wheels off the market, eventually convincing Congressmen, the government and OSHA to press for legislation banning the wheels.

“My mother was an extraordinary woman who touched, affected and bettered countless lives,” said her daughter, Anne Ehmann, in a report on her death. “An incredible example of what one mother, one person, passionate about her son, change and helping others can do. How one young man’s short life, with the help of his mother, made such a difference in the world, affecting the quality of other people’s lives and preserving the safety of others and their loved ones.”

As Philly.com reported: “After her son’s death, Mary more or less accepted what authorities told her, that her son’s death was a ‘freak accident.’ But then a woman came up to her at her son’s funeral and told her that her son had died in a similar accident a few months ago.

“Within weeks, Mrs. Ehmann had heard of more cases of deaths or injuries from explosions of multi-piece wheels in her area of Pennsylvania.

“Mary’s letter caused the Insurance Institute to launch its own investigation. ‘Our institute didn’t, at that time, know a thing about multi-piece wheels.’

“It conducted demonstrations to show what could happen to these wheels as they were being worked on by unsuspecting mechanics.

“’After contacting NHTSA, talking to workmen’s compensation boards, engineers and lawyers, the institute concluded that “nowhere in the country was anyone systematically, reliably keeping data about multi-piece wheel separation incidents.’

“The institute turned up hundreds of cases of exploding wheels, including numerous fatalities. It petitioned NHTSA to develop a standard ‘that would, in effect, outlaw the manufacture of such wheels, by imposing on all truck wheels a requirement that under blow-out and run-flat conditions, they stay together and retain their tires rather than flying apart.’”

As Philly.com reported, She learned that what happened to her son was not a random occurrence, but instead was happening often, was going unreported, and was seriously injuring – if not killing – people.


You May Also Like

Toyo Tires Promotes New VP of Sales

Mike Snyder has been promoted to vice president of sales. Snyder previously served as the sr. director of sales, strategic accounts.


Toyo Tire U.S.A. announced that Mike Snyder has been promoted to vice president of sales. Snyder previously served as the senior director of sales, strategic accounts, and the company says he has played an integral role in sales leadership at Toyo. Starting his career with Toyo in 1993, Snyder brings 30 years of knowledge and experience to his new role.

Bridgestone, ‘Play Like a Girl!’ Partner with NFL Teams

Bridgestone said its collaboration fosters girls’ leadership in STEM through NFL partnerships and initiatives.

Pirelli Inaugurates $15 Million R&D Center in Silao, Mexico

Pirelli’s new hub will focus in on technology, digitalization and training for predictive vehicle dynamics.

Pirelli facility Mexico
Turbo Wholesale Tires Reveals New Logo

The company said the logo change comes as Turbo concludes its 40th-anniversary celebration.

Maine Voters Overwhelmingly Back Right to Repair

Over 80% of Mainers voted “yes” to ensure that they and their repair shops can access vehicle diagnostic tools and data.

Other Posts

CEOs of 10 Tire Manufacturers Unveil Two-Year Sustainability Plan

The plan emphasizes tire-emission research, circular end-of-life tire management and enhanced sustainability assessments.

Tire-Industry-Project tool kit for end of life tires
Ohio Tire & Automotive Association Partners with CareerPlug

OTAA members gain free access to CareerPlug’s hiring platform, including expert support and discounted premium services.

Handshake agreement
Pirelli Unveils Revamped B2B Sales Platform

Pirelli’s upgraded TireClub+ offers real-time monitoring, order management and news.

Bridgestone, Michelin Set Standards to Expand Recycled Carbon Black

The companies outlined standards, goals and solutions for advancing recycled carbon black utilization.

Enviro Carbon Black