Training materials for new drivers in all 50 states will now include tire safety information, thanks to an effort led by Michelin North America Inc. and the Federation Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA).
It marks the first time administrators in every state have committed to include consistent tire safety information in their training manuals, Michelin says.
And it's a critical safety issue, as crashes remain the No. 1 killer of teens in America, with recent federal safety data showing 12% of crashes involving inexperienced drivers attributed to improper tire maintenance.
Michelin and FIA launched the “Beyond the Driving Test” program in late 2014 with a goal of persuading traffic-safety regulators in every state to include information about tread depth and tire pressure in their mandatory training materials for teen drivers. At the time, only a handful of states included this basic information.
“In the beginning, Michelin and FIA described our ambition as ‘50 by ’20,’ with the hopes of securing these commitments from every state by 2020," says Pete Selleck, chairman and president of Michelin North America. "The goal seemed audacious; we had no idea how to achieve it at the start.
“Our campaign found support with some key organizations in an active and fervent traffic-safety community, and their involvement made it possible to complete our mission more than two years ahead of schedule."
Selleck cited these groups as playing important roles in the move: the American Driver and Traffic Safety Education Association, the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators and the Governors Highway Safety Association.
"Hard-working leaders and members in each of these groups played key roles in helping Michelin deliver a simple message about tire safety to driving instructors and in the halls of state governments to make a change that will save lives in the long run.”
The Beyond the Driving Test program in the U.S. was an expression of FIA’s global “#3500Lives” campaign, which calls attention to the lives lost on roadways every day around the world, and especially deaths among younger drivers.
“The number of young people who lose their lives in avoidable road crashes is unacceptable," says Jean Todt, president of FIA and the U.N. Secretary General’s Special Envoy for Road Safety.
"We need to change road users’ attitudes and promote safe behaviors on our roads. Education programs and awareness-raising campaigns are important safety measures that deserve continuing support by state and local governments in America. Michelin’s achievement in teen driving safety is strongly in line with the FIA #3500lives campaign and its global goal of reducing young driver accidents. I encourage the American road-safety community to continue improving these mandatory training and education programs for teen drivers.”
Beyond the Driving Test has reached nearly 1,000 driving instructors and more than 200,000 students with tire-safety messages to date. Since securing commitments from all 50 states, 26 states already have published new training materials with tire-safety information.