Cooper Tire's Pat Brown promotes tire safety at ITEC

Sept. 11, 2002

There could be as many as 225 million under-inflated tires on the road today, according to Pat Brown, vice president of advertising and communications for Cooper Tire & Rubber Co.

In her speech at today's ITEC (International Tire Exhibition and Conference) presentation in Akron, Ohio, Brown talked about tire safety and the importance of getting the word out to the consumer.

She said according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 27% of the cars on the road today have at least one seriously underinflated tire.

"If we take the 27% figure and base that on the number of passenger vehicles in use in the U.S. in 2001, we are looking at no less than 56 million tires on the road that might be underinflated. This could be as (many) as 225 million tires if all four tires of the vehicle are not properly inflated."

Motorist apathy may become more heightened with the addition of vehicle pressure monitoring systems, said Brown.

In response to the lack of knowledge, Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA) members, including Cooper Tire, collectively donated more than $3 million toward the RMA’s tire safety campaign, "Be Tire Smart -- Play Your Part." Leaflets, posters and window decals were among some of the items made available.

Brown said the "Be Tire Smart -- Play Your Part" campaign focuses on:

* Proper pressure. The importance of looking at the tire information placard or the vehicle owner’s manual for the correct original equipment tire pressures is emphasized. "Remember that 66% of motorists don’t know where to find the correct pressure," she said.

* Tread wear care. The purpose of the tread and its functions are explained. How balancing and alignment of the vehicle’s suspension affects the tire wear also is addressed.

* Tire rotation. Because each tire on a car carries a different amount of weight, rotation helps prevent irregular tread wear.

In April 2002, the industry sponsored the first ever "National Tire Safety Week." RMA member companies participated with their own dealers, and more than 3 million "Be Tire Smart, Play Your Part" brochures were distributed to tire dealers in more than 11,000 outlets across the nation.

"The week-long campaign resulted in more than 500 broadcast and print stories recorded nationwide, including such prestigious networks as CNN and CNN Headline News," said Brown. "There were countless exposures on local network television affiliates and national radio news syndicates."

NHTSA, with the help of the RMA and Tire Industry Association, launched a tire safety campaign of its own last November. The campaign included public service announcements on 2,000 radio stations throughout the country and print ads with the theme, "Inflation, it’s a good thing." The materials were created in English and Spanish and also included an updated brochure on tire safety.

Individually, Cooper created a handy, pull-out magazine advertising brochure entitled, "Tire Safety Made Simple." Included were simple tips on pressure, alignment, rotation, tread depth, load, mounting, storing, repairing and more from a consumer perspective.

"As you can see, there are some tremendous efforts being made to increase public awareness regarding tire care and safety," said Brown.

"In the end the message is simple," she said. "It's the little things that make a difference."