In an odd alliance, Public Citizen and the Tire Industry Association have banded together to protest the federal government’s rule that beginning with 2008 models, vehicles must have tire pressure monitoring systems.
The complaint by these two organizations is that the new NHTSA rule doesn’t go far enough. The rule only requires a warning if the vehicle has been travelling over 30 mph continuously for more than 20 minutes. Therefore, people who drive mostly in a city would not be warned of under-inflated tires.
While I agree a stronger rule would be preferable, this could be a case of perfect getting in the way of good enough. The main reason for the rule is to prevent vehicle rollover contributed to by under-inflated tires. Such rollovers are more likely to occur at higher speeds, and, judging by the Firestone cases, more likely to occur after driving long enough to get the tires hot.
Public Citizen does tend to overreach sometimes, and of course the tire manufacturers are looking for as much CYA as possible. Let’s make the rule stronger if we can, but let’s not run the risk of losing it altogether.