WASHINGTON—The “deflategate” scandal provides a handy metaphor for tire safety, an official of the National Transportation Safety Board wrote on the agency's website.
“Every football junkie now knows (and neither knew nor cared to know before January 19) that footballs should be inflated to between 12.5 and 13.5 pounds per square inch,” wrote Don Karol, director of the NTSB's Office of Highway Safety, in a Jan. 23 entry on the agency's official “Safety Compass” blog.
“Planning a party for hardcore fans?” Karol wrote. “Ask them what the NFL found out about the footballs in ‘Deflate-Gate.' They'll probably tell you without missing a beat that 11 of 12 balls were underinflated by two pounds per square inch.
“Then ask them when they last checked the pressure of the tires on their vehicles,” he wrote.
Karol quoted the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration as saying that nearly 11,000 tire-related car crashes happen in the U.S. every year, causing nearly 200 deaths. He also provided links to tire maintenance websites, including the Rubber Manufacturers Association's “Be Tire Smart—Play Your P.A.R.T.”
The NTSB sponsored a Passenger Vehicle Tire Safety Symposium Dec. 9-10, at which officials from government agencies, safety groups, tire associations and tire manufacturers testified.
Karol's column can be found here.