RMA calls proposed TPMS rule "flawed"

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The Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA) is concerned that a proposed federal regulation mandating tire pressure monitoring systems on all passenger cars and light trucks starting in 2007 "may not provide motorists with a timely low pressure warning."

The proposed rule would require tire pressure monitoring systems to alert drivers when psi levels fall 25% below the vehicle manufacturer´s recommended inflation pressure.

RMA officials say that a 25% air pressure drop "may be insufficient to safely carry a fully loaded vehicle."

"A tire pressure monitoring system that fails to warn motorists before tires are operating in an unsafe condition combined with a decrease in regular tire maintenance may increase the risk of tire failure," says RMA CEO Donald Shea.

Two years ago, the RMA filed a petition with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that urged the agency to adopt requirements that tires have sufficient inflation and load reserve to accommodate a 25% decrease in inflation pressure.

"A mandated reserve pressure would allow a tire pressure monitoring system to alert motorists when the vehicle load exceeds the design specifications of the tire," say RMA officials.

"To make sure a tire has sufficient reserve, vehicle manufacturers could increase the recommended inflation pressure in their vehicles´ tires or use a different size tire for a particular vehicle."

Federal regulations require vehicle manufacturers to establish recommended tire inflation pressures.

"The tire industry cannot support a tire pressure monitoring system rule that would permit tires to operate outside of industry standards without warning the driver," says Shea.

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