The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has proposed a new safety standard to warn the driver when a tire is significantly under-inflated, according to the NAFA FleetFocus
e-mail newsletter.The proposal requires manufacturers to install a four-tire Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) that is capable of detecting when a tire is more than 25 percent under-inflated and warning the driver. The new standard also proposes to add a TPMS malfunction indicator to the requirements, which would warn the driver when the system is not working properly. For example, sometimes tires are installed on the vehicle that are incompatible with the TPMS, or sometimes other problems cause the TPMS to become inoperative. TPMS is a safety warning system and is not a substitute for regular tire pressure maintenance by drivers. Operating a vehicle with substantially under-inflated tires can result in a tire failure, such as instances of tread 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 would apply 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. This document proposes the following three-year phase-in schedule: In the first model year, beginning Sept. 1, 2005, 50 percent of all light vehicles manufactured would comply.
In the second model year, beginning Sept. 1, 2006, 90 percent of all light vehicles manufactured would comply.
After Sept. 1, 2007, all light vehicles manufactured would comply.
NHTSA will accept comments on this "notice of proposed rulemaking"(Click here to view) for the next 60 days. Written comments concerning the proposal should be sent to the DOT Docket Facility, Attn: Docket No. NHTSA-2004-19054, Room PL-401, 400 Seventh St., S.W., Washington, DC 20590-0001, or faxed to (202) 493-2251. The notice also will be available for viewing at dms.dot.gov/. Comments may also be submitted electronically via this Web site.