WASHINGTONFor the second time in a week, an organization concerned with tire safety used the Deflate-Gate underinflated football scandal as a metaphor for improperly inflated tires.
Nearly seven out of 10 U.S. vehicles have at least one underinflated tire, said Dan Zielinski, senior vice president-public affairs for the Rubber Manufactur-
ers Association (RMA), in a Jan. 29 press release timed to appear just before the Super Bowl on Feb. 1.
Underinflated tires put motorists at a higher risk on the road and waste gasoline, Mr. Zielinski said. Curiously, it's an underinflated football that has captured national attention.
He quoted federal statistics showing that underinflated tires are three times more likely to be a factor in car crashes compared with prop-erly inflated tires. The RMA recommends that all motorists check their tire inflation pressures at least once a month and always before long trips.
If you're driving on Super Bowl Sunday, you should check your tire pressure first, then check your football, Mr. Zielinski quipped.
Meanwhile, an official of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) used the Deflate-Gate controversyover alleged deflated footballs in the playoff game between the New England Patriots and Indianapolis Colts on Jan. 18for a blog posted on the NTSB's website Jan. 23. Planning a (Super Bowl) party for hardcore fans? wrote Don Karol, director of the NTSB's Office of Highway Safety.
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 footballs were underinflated by two pounds per square inch.
Then ask them when they last checked the pressure of the tires on their vehicles, Mr. Karol wrote.
He cited the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that nearly 11,000 highway crashes and nearly 200 highway deaths annually are attributable to tires, then then recommended several tire-related safety websites, including the RMA's Be Tire SmartPlay Your P.A.R.T.