Hanover, Germany – The European Commission has mandated that tire pressure monitoring systems (TPMS), which tell drivers when one or more tires fall below a preset pressure limit, be fitted to all new vehicle models as of 2012.

The systems have been mandatory on vehicles sold in the U.S. since the 2008 model year. Tranport Canada has said that it is studying the issue but has not planned to mandate the system.

“Tire blowouts pose a serious risk to road users, especially if they happen while travelling at high speed,” said Alexander Lührs, spokesman for tire manufacturer Continental. “If a driver loses control of the car, a lot of other people on the road are immediately in great danger as well. About 90 per cent of all tire defects are attributable to a slow leak in tire pressure.”

Lürs said that one in three cars in Germany has underinflated tires, and if all had their tires correctly inflated, car running costs in Europe alone could be reduced by €3.4 billion, as underinflated tires increase rolling resistance and fuel consumption.

Continental also said it is pressing for a compulsory TPMS threshold of 10 per cent deviation from the recommended inflation pressure, rather than the maximum of 25 per cent proposed. The tire manufacturer said that lower thresholds lead to more drivers on underinflated tires.

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