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Survey: 42% of drivers still can't identify TPMS symbol

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DENVER (April 11, 2014) — Many drivers still can’t identify the tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) warning symbol on their vehicle’s dashboard, according to a recently released study conducted by TPMS sensor maker Schrader International Inc.

The survey revealed that while 96 percent of drivers consider under-inflated tires a serious safety issue and 89 percent think properly inflated tires and an automatic warning system could save their life, 42 percent of drivers still don’t know what the TPMS symbol means.

Schrader said it is working closely with its aftermarket retail partners to integrate the use of creative point-of-sale elements — such as product displays, waiting room posters, consumer-focused videos and handouts, as well as online content — to help inform the consumer in advance of a service conversation.

OEM car manufacturers also have stepped up their marketing efforts in order to highlight new features available with Direct TPMS, such as advanced pressure-by-position displays and Tire Fill Alert that notifies the driver via a horn chirp and lights flash when tires are filled to their proper level of air pressure.

“At Schrader, we’re committed to making a difference in driver safety,” said Hugh Charvat, the Denver-based company’s president and CEO.

“This begins with consumer education around how to recognize and what to do in a low tire pressure situation, and continues with our dedication to delivering the best technology and operational performance in TPMS to our global original equipment manufacturer (OEM) customers and aftermarket service partners.”

Schrader said while estimates indicate more than 104 million vehicles in the U.S. are equipped with TPMS (and an estimated 91 percent of the entire U.S. vehicle population is expected to be TPMS-equipped by 2023), only 58 percent of drivers could properly identify the TPMS warning symbol. This is why, when it comes to motorist safety, Schrader said it is shining “a traffic light” on TPMS education and awareness.

The company flagged the following with its color designations of Green (Good News), Yellow (Areas for Improvement) and Red (Staggering Facts).

Green Light:

  • Drivers have expressed interest in safer and more environmentally-friendly cars;
  • 94 percent said they believe TPMS is an important safety feature to have in a vehicle, while 79 percent indicate it is important for environmental impact;
  • 95 percent said they consider safety features and 72 percent environmental impact as important issues when shopping for a car;
  • TPMS-equipped vehicles were estimated to save more than $511 million in 2011 through reduced fuel consumption;
  • Nearly half of drivers surveyed (48 percent) would be likely to purchase TPMS for their car if they did not already have one installed; and
  • 51 percent of drivers report self-servicing underinflated tires at a gas station or car wash, while three in 10 drivers visit professional service providers to resolve tire issues.

 Yellow Light (Areas for Improvement):

  • One in 10 drivers admits to having intentionally ignored a TPMS warning and continued to drive;
  • Younger Americans 18-34 (25 percent) are significantly more likely than their older counterparts (35-55, 15 percent; 55+, 13 percent) to admit they have intentionally ignored a TPMS warning light and continued to drive;
  • 21 percent of drivers say they would continue driving until they could safely check their tires with the naked eye to see if there was an issue; and
  • 42 percent of drivers rarely check their tire air pressure, with 34 percent of men saying they rarely do so compared with 50 percent of women.

 Red Light (Staggering Facts):

  • The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports tires that are underinflated by more than 25 percent are three times more likely to be involved in a crash related to tire problems than a vehicle with proper inflation.

According to NHTSA and the U.S. Department of Energy:

  • Nearly 200,000 accidents are caused by tire-related issues (annually).
  • 660 highway fatalities are due to underinflated tires (annually).
  • 33,000 injuries are due to underinflated tires (annually).
  • Drivers can expect a 3.3-percent fuel economy benefit by keeping tires properly inflated.
  • 3.5 million gallons of gasoline are wasted due to underinflated tires (daily).
  • As the drive for increased education progresses, so has the level of safety for U.S. motorists. In fact, the presence of TPMS has resulted in a 55.6-percent reduction in the likelihood that a vehicle would have one or more severely underinflated tires.

Schrader has set up a website, TPMS Made Simple, to help motorists learn more about TPMS.

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