RMA petitions NHTSA for TPMS rule reconsideration

May 24, 2005

The Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA) says the National Highway Traffic Safety Administrations's (NHTSA) final tire pressure monitoring system rule "does not adequately protect motor vehicle operators from the risks of driving on significantly under-inflated tires" and is petitioning the agency to reconsider its stance.

The following is an excerpt from the RMA's official petition, which was sent to NHTSA representatives today:

"Pursuant to 49 C.F.R. §553.35, the Rubber Manufacturers Association(RMA)petitions for reconsideration of the final rule promulgated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) requiring the installation of a tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) in all new light vehicles by September 1, 2007. 70 Federal Register 18136-18191 (April 8, 2005). As explained below, the final rule, which reestablishes federal motor vehicle safety standard No. 138, 49 C.F.R. §571.138 (FMVSS No. 138), does not adequately protect motor vehicle operators from the risks of driving on significantly under-inflated tires.

"Compliance with the rule is therefore 'not in the public interest,' 49 C.F.R. 553.35 (a), and should be reconsidered in light of the

information RMA submitted to NHTSA during the rulemaking proceeding and the additional concerns we raise in this petition.

"As RMA stated in its initial comments, and in other submissions to the docket in this matter, RMA has strongly and consistently urged the Agency to adopt a final rule that requires the TPMS to 'warn the driver when one or more tires has insufficient air

pressure to carry the actual load on the tire.'

"We have also stressed the importance of requiring the system to 'operate over all conditions representing the real-world driving environment.' Unfortunately, the final TPMS rule neither satisfies these criteria nor maximizes consumer safety, as required under

Section 13 of the TREAD Act, 49 U.S.C. 30123 note (2003), and the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act, 49 U.S.C. 30101 et seq (Safety Act).

"For the sake of brevity, and because our previous submissions to the docket have thoroughly addressed RMA’s position in this matter, we will not again explain the basis for our overriding objection to the final rule – namely, that the rule’s TPMS activation point fails to ensure that consumers will receive adequate warning before the tire’s

inflation pressure falls below the minimum level of pressure required to support the actual load (or if unknown, the maximum load) on the tire."