Fewer drivers are checking tire pressure, reports RMA

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Can motorists be even more lax when it comes to checking their tire pressure? Yes, according to a recent Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA) study.

Slightly more than 50% of respondents to the survey say they have checked their tire pressure within the past month versus 70% of respondents last year.

The RMA urges motorists to check tire pressure each month to promote vehicle safety.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that low tire pressure-related crashes are to blame for 660 fatalities and 33,000 injuries every year.

NHTSA also estimates that about one in four cars and one in three light trucks has at least one significantly under inflated tire.

"Our most recent survey suggests that when gas prices began to drop last fall, so did drivers’ attention to their tires," says RMA CEO and President Donald Shea. M

Driver complacency may grow as mandatory tire pressure monitoring systems begin to be installed in vehicles, says the RMA.

"In 2008, all new cars will be equipped with a TPMS that will alert drivers when tire pressure drops 25 percent.

"Survey results indicate that more than two-thirds of drivers said that they would be less concerned with regular tire maintenance if their vehicle were equipped with TPMS."

A nationwide RMA survey conducted two months ago found:

* 40% of drivers said that if their vehicle were equipped with a tire pressure monitoring system, they would either never check tire pressure (16%) or would only check tire pressure if they saw the dashboard warning light (24%);

* Nearly seven in ten drivers wash their vehicle every month but barely more than half check tire pressure monthly;

* Forty-five-percent of drivers wrongly believe that the correct inflation pressure is printed on the tire sidewall. Another 15% do not know where to find the correct pressure;

* Twenty-siz-percent of drivers wrongly believe that the best time to check their tires is when they are warm after being driven for at least a few miles.

"These alarming statistics are a critical reason why RMA is sponsoring the sixth annual National Tire Safety Week, which runs (through) April 28."

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