SACRAMENTO, Calif.-You should check a tire´s inflation pressure at least once a month and inflate it according to the vehicle manufacturer´s recommended pressure, not the pressure molded onto the sidewall.
Nearly twice as many drivers know that today as they did four years ago, and the Rubber Manufacturers Association credits National Tire Safety Week with the improvement.
Not, of course, that proper tire inflation has exactly become a consumer craze. The most recent RMA nationwide motorist survey shows that only 19 percent of drivers know proper inflation techniques. But that´s considerably better than the 11 percent who knew them in 2002, when the first National Tire Safety Week was held.
"We´re not shouting from the rooftops over 19 percent, but we´re showing steady improvement in consumer aware- ness," said an RMA spokesman April 24, the day the association launched the fifth annual National Tire Safety Week in Sacramento.
April 23-29 were the dates for the event, which officially was celebrated at a Goodyear Tire Center in downtown Sacramento. Speaking at the event were officials from the California Highway Patrol, the California Office of Highway Safety and the California branch of the American Automobile Association.
Jacqueline Glassman, acting administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and Montill Williams, director of public affairs for the national AAA, appeared in a video press release.
The last National Tire Safety Week was kicked off April 25, 2005, at Skyline Automotive, an auto repair and tire center in Falls Church, Va. Then-NHTSA Administrator Jeffrey W. Runge spoke live at the event.
California was the site for the National Tire Safety Week launch this year, the RMA spokesman said, partly because it hadn´t been the launch site since 2003 and partly because California is "a big state with a lot of drivers.
National Tire Safety Week is part of the "Be Tire Smart-Play Your PART" tire safety program the RMA launched in the wake of the 6.5 million-tire Firestone recall of August 2000. The recall also led to passage of the Transportation Recall Enhancement, Accountability and Documentation Act, whose provisions include stringent new tire testing regulations and a requirement for tire pressure monitoring systems on vehicles.
Despite information efforts by industry and government, the RMA said, NHTSA statistics show that underinflated tires remain a serious safety problem on U.S. roads.
The association quoted NHTSA as saying that one in three U.S. cars has at least one seriously underinflated tire, and this in turn results in some 660 highway deaths annually.