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Feds delay tire pressure monitoring system implementation

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Although there were conflicting media reports today about where the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA) tire pressure monitoring system regulations stand, they have officially been delayed.

The federal government’s Office of Management and Budget has delayed a rule that would require all new cars to come with tire pressure monitoring systems on the grounds they would discourage the use of anti-lock braking systems (ABS).

The office wants NHTSA to allow an indirect braking system in which ABS brakes would measure the rotation of all four tires and alert the monitor to speed imbalances caused by air pressure loss.

Earlier this year, NHTSA proposed two versions of tire pressure monitoring system regulations.

The first requires that drivers be warned when the pressure in one or more tires -– up to a total of four tires -– falls to 20% or more below the vehicle maker’s recommended cold inflation pressure, or a minimal level of pressure to be specified in the new standard, whichever is higher.

The other option requires that drivers be warned when tire pressure in one or more tires –- up to a total of four -– has fallen to 25% or more below the car maker’s recommended cold inflation pressure or a minimum level of pressure to be specified in the new standard, whichever is higher.

Office of Management and Budget officials “want NHTSA to do a cost-benefit analysis” of how an indirect system would work with ABS, according to Ann Wilson, senior vice president of the Rubber Manufacturers Association.

“A rule permitting indirect systems may provide more overall success” at a lower total cost," she says, adding the House of Representatives will host a hearing on the topic on Feb. 28.

"We're going to review the OMB's letter," says NHTSA spokesman Rae Tyson. "We haven't decided what we're going to do yet. We hope to make a (decision) fairly quickly."

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