Tiremakers ask feds to add reserve inflation pressure rule

July 19, 2002

Tire manufacturers have petitioned the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to adopt a new safety regulation requiring tires to have a reserve inflation pressure.

Under the proposal, submitted by the Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA), a vehicle's tire would be required to have a recommended inflation pressure that would be enough to carry the vehicle's load even if the tires' psi levels drop as much as 30%.

Last month, NHTSA formally issued a final rule mandating the use of tire pressure monitoring systems that would warn drivers when tires become 25% or 30% under-inflated.

"A tire pressure monitoring system can be an effective safety tool for motorists only if it provides a timely warning to consumers," says RMA President and CEO Donald B. Shea.

"Without a reserve requirement for tires, a significant number of motorists may wrongly believe that their vehicle's tire pressure monitoring system will warn them before their tires are operating in an unsafe condition."