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TPMS comments due to NHTSA Feb. 12

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The deadline to submit comments to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is Feb. 12, 2015, regarding a proposed survey on the effectiveness of Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) in older vehicles.

Since September 2007 when TPMS was mandated in all new passenger cars, trucks, multipurpose passenger vehicles and buses weighing less than 10,000 pounds, NHTSA has studied its effectiveness only once. That initial evaluation, conducted in 2011, included 6,103 total vehicles, 4,391 of which were equipped with TPMS. All were within the model year range of 2004-2011, and the study found the systems were substantially less effective in preventing severe underinflation in tires on vehicles six to seven years old at the time.

NHTSA plans to follow up its initial evaluation of TPMS and focus specifically on why the effectiveness is reduced in older vehicles, and what can be done to improve it. To conduct the study, NHTSA first must collect comments on the following topics:

- Whether the information is necessary and if it will have ‘practical utility,’

- Whether the department has accurately estimated the burden of collecting the information, which is 1,354 hours annually,

- Suggestions to improve the ‘quality, utility and clarity’ of the information collected, and

- Ways to reduce the burden on respondents while collecting information, including using automated or other technological practices.

Comments should be sent to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget, Attention NHTSA Desk Officer, 725 17th Street NW, Washington, DC 20503.

The initial TPMS study found 12.4% of passenger vehicles in the U.S. had at least one tire that was severely underinflated, which the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard defines as 25% or more below the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended cold tire pressure. The survey found 23.1% of model year vehicles 2004-2007 without TPMS had at least one severely underinflated tire, compared to 11.8% of same-aged vehicles equipped with TPMS. Only 5.7% of the newer, 2008-2011 vehicles with TPMS had a severely underinflated tire.

Using the data from model years 2004-2007, which included a mix of vehicles both with and without TPMS, the survey concluded TPMS resulted in a 55.6% reduction in the likelihood a vehicle will have severely underinflated tires.

The study also discovered a 30.7% decrease in the likelihood a tire is severely overinflated (25% or more above the manufacturer’s recommended cold tire pressure) on vehicles with TPMS from 2004-2007, even though the systems aren’t required to alert drivers of overinflation.

Review the 2011 TPMS survey results here, and see NHTSA’s request for comments on the upcoming TPMS survey from the Federal Register here.

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