WASHINGTON (April 7)—Representatives of the tire industry blasted as inadequate the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's final rule on tire pressure monitoring systems issued today.
The new standard requires a TPMS on all new cars by the 2008 model year that will warn motorists when one or more of their tires are 25 percent or more under the vehicle manufacturer's recommended air pressure. The Rubber Manufacturers Association—supported by the Tire Industry Association, the American Automobile Association and other groups—consistently has said this is too low a warning level to protect consumers from tire damage and accidents related to underinflation.
"This regulation may give motorists a false sense of security that their tires are properly inflated when they may be significantly underinflated," RMA President Donald B. Shea said in a release.
The RMA and other groups asked NHTSA for a tire pressure reserve requirement to make sure that tires still can carry the vehicle's maximum load at the time the underinflation warning light illuminates. In its final rule, the agency said it would rule on that request in a separate notice.