The Rubber Manufacturers Association plans to hold its second annual National Tire Safety Week April 27-May 3, 2003, and that's a good thing.
There's no question consumers need to be reminded of the importance of regular tire maintenance and about the vital need to check the air pressure in their vehicles' tires at least once a month.
As any tire dealer will tell you, most drivers pay little attention to their tires. Drivers just expect their tires to run flawlessly, even with little air pressure in them.
While their implied trust in the product is admirable, in reality they are only asking for trouble.
That's why the effort the RMA is sponsoring is so important.
In planning its next National Tire Safety Week, the RMA wisely has partnered with about 100 large tire retailers, such as Sears Automotive Centers and Discount Tire Co., to help distribute its tire safety brochures to their customers.
But there's no better way to get the word out than at the point of sale of the tire dealership-where nearly 60 percent of replacement tires are sold in the U.S.
While signing up 100 tire retailers is a good start, what about the other 25,000 independent tire dealerships across the country? If the RMA really wants to get the word out about the importance of tires to vehicle safety, now is the time for the group to actively encourage all tire dealerships, large and small, to support its cause.
With a little effort, the week can become a true industry happening. And the most effective way to reach these dealers is through the Tire Industry Association and state tire dealer groups, many of which have already signed on to help RMA with its cause.
Think of the impact such a campaign would have if every tire dealer in America took time during Tire Safety Week to explain to their customers why taking care of their tires is so important.
Most consumers already trust their local independent dealer and rely on him or her for expertise and guidance when buying and servicing their tires.
Adding in a discussion about tire safety and tire maintenance-as well as a mention of the technology that goes into a tire-would be a natural extension of this relationship.
And there's little doubt that consumers are more likely to listen and change their behavior if the information comes from somebody they know and trust.
It might be cost prohibitive and too unwieldy administratively for RMA to print and disseminate enough tire safety information brochures for all tire outlets nationwide.
But it wouldn't be difficult to provide a set of guidelines, posted on its Web site, that dealerships could follow to take the best advantage of National Tire Safety Week. It just needs to get the word out that the information is available.
Getting all tire dealers involved could make next year's event a week to remember.