LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Sept. 10, 2001)—The International Tire & Rubber Association has filed its comments and suggestions regarding the tire pressure monitoring systems (TPMS) mandated on all new passenger vehicles beginning with the 2004 model year.
ITRA's recommendations, submitted to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Sept. 6, were given in response to a notice of proposed rulemaking issued by the federal agency in July.
Requiring TPMS systems is part of the Transportation Recall Enhancement Accountability and Documentation (TREAD) passed by Congress last fall. To date, the Rubber Manufacturers Association and the Tire Association of North America also have filed such comments with NHTSA.
ITRA told NHTSA it supports the proposals previously submitted on behalf of tire manufacturers by the RMA. However, the Louisville-based trade association said it also places “major importance” on recommendations that:
•Direct—rather than indirect TPMS—be adopted for use “or the most foolproof systems available at the time” and that reasonable cost differentials not be considered a factor. ITRA said indirect systems cannot detect and warn the driver when the pressure of all four tires drops below safe levels;
•The warning system should include a light on the dash with an audible buzzer and be designed to make bypassing or short-circuiting the system difficult;
•“Significant underinflation” be defined by NHTSA as any inflation pressure less than that required to carry the actual vehicle load as determined by the tire and vehicle manufacturers; and
•Installation, maintenance and adjustment of the TRMS should only be performed by qualified personnel with the necessary training, equipment and information to ensure they are accurate and operable.
ITRA recommended that NHTSA require a license or certification for individuals or repair facilities responsible for installing, maintaining or adjusting the vehicle's TPMS.
The association suggested that wheels be designed with one or more indentations to house the pressure sensor and protect it from damage due to contact with the tire's beads or road impacts; also that some sort of “black box” technology be used to indicate how long the tire was run underinflated if a failure-related accident should occur.