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Why delay?

Taking shots at the government for some malfeasance or misfeasance is, in editor's parlance, "shooting fish in a barrel." Too easy. I think only editors would shoot fish in a barrel, but I digress because that's exactly what I'm going to do. Vacation looms.

The U.S. government, being a representative democracy, has the ability to be representative and move legislation quickly or be democratic and let items move at snail-like paces.

A case in point is the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA) proposed standard that new vehicles be equipped with tire pressure monitoring systems. The NHTSA is seeking comments from the public on two alternative versions of the regulation. This is a practice federal agencies must follow in a democratic society. I'm curious to find out how many, if any, comments are made. Who would be opposed to tire monitoring devices? It's kind of amazing that in over a century of automobile manufacturing, there is no monitoring device for tire pressure. And why does it have to come as a mandate from the government?

The NHTSA estimates that 49 to 79 deaths and 6,585 to 10,635 injuries could be prevented each year if all vehicles were equipped with tire pressure monitoring systems. By their calculations, 5.88 to 9.48 deaths and 790.2 to 1,276.2 preventable injuries will occur during every 45-day comment period. I'll repeat, what's to comment on?

With all that is known about the effect underinflation has on tires, these things should have been mandatory years ago. For those who feel this is just another unnecessary government regulation, because all we're talking about here is an automatic tire gauge, this regulation is for the majority who don't know what a tire gauge is.

A recent Rubber Manufacturers Association survey showed 61% of the drivers surveyed in five cities earned a grade of D or lower on a basic tire safety quiz. Only 34% of those surveyed knew where to check for their vehicle's recommended tire pressure and only 28% knew how often tires should be rotated.

Another gauge or an innocuous icon of an underinflated tire on your dashboard is a small price to pay for the safety benefits. Why delay? Comment time is over.
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Title Annotation:National Highway Traffic Safety Administration regulation
Author:Smith, Don R.
Publication:Rubber World
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Aug 1, 2001
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