May 31, 2002

NHTSA mandates tire pressure monitoring devices

Washington, D.C. – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) today issued part one of a two-part final rule requiring tire pressure monitoring systems that warn the driver when a tire is significantly under-inflated.

According to a NHTSA research survey, 27 percent of passenger cars on U.S. roadways are driven with one or more substantially under-inflated tires. In addition, the survey found that 33 percent of light trucks (including sport utility vehicles, vans and pickup trucks) are driven with one or more substantially under-inflated tires.

Operating a vehicle with substantially under-inflated tires can result in a tire failure, such as instances of tire separation and blowouts, with the potential for a loss of control of the vehicle. Under-inflated tires also shorten tire life and increase fuel consumption.

The new Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard applies to passenger cars, trucks, multipurpose passenger vehicles, and buses with a gross vehicle weight rating of 10,000 pounds or less, except those vehicles with dual wheels on an axle.

The new regulation allows vehicle manufacturers to use either of the two types of TPMS currently available – one of which measures the pressure in each tire, and another which uses a vehicle’s antilock brake system hardware to sense tire pressure differences by monitoring the speed of tire revolution.

The second part of the regulation will be issued by March 1, 2005, and will establish performance requirements that will become effective on Nov. 1, 2006.

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