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Help Could be on the Way for Maintaining Proper Tire Pressure on Vehicles

Aired September 6, 2001 - 04:37   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
SHELLEY WALCOTT, CNN ANCHOR: Traction is an important factor in tire performance. It keeps the rubber to the road, so to speak. Tire traction can affect tire pressure, something drivers should check regularly, but many, including me, don't. The government says 71 percent of drivers check their tire pressure less than once a month. Now that could be dangerous, even fatal, but help may be on the way.

Patty Davis has that.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PATTY DAVIS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They're one of the most neglected parts of your car but experts say your tires are crucial for your safety and soon the government will require this, a tire pressure warning system on all cars, light trucks and buses made after November 2003.

MANTILL WILLIAMS, AAA SPOKESMAN: If your tires are not well maintained, not properly inflated and you don't care for them, you will lose traction, you could lose control of your vehicle so you could get into an accident.

DAVIS: Federal safety officials estimate as many as 79 deaths and 10,000 injuries could be prevented each year if all vehicles had tire pressure monitors. The new law passed last year comes on the heels of deadly Ford Explorer rollovers. The government says underinflated Firestone tires may have been a factor. Ford says that 2002 model Explorer will be its first sport utility vehicle to get pressure monitors. General motors already includes pressure sensors on 14 models.

STEVE GEHRING, GENERAL MOTORS SPOKESMAN: If you're in a situation where you are losing tire pressure or one of your tires is low, you're going to get that before the next time you check it and that's what's important, that's what the difference is here.

DAVIS: The government will require one of these two proposed systems, either a direct sensor system in each tire which warns when pressure falls 20 percent or more or the cheaper alternative which measures how fast the wheels turn. An underinflated tire rotates faster.

(on camera): If your car or truck doesn't have a tire pressure monitor, you can have one installed. One system costs about $250 or you could do it the old-fashioned way with one of these, a gauge to check the tire pressure until you own a vehicle that can do it for you.

Patty Davis, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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