Addressing the Situation: Tire Safety

Comparative Risks: Tires vs. Vehicle Recalls

In honor of National Tire Safety Week, I will be writing a short article each day to spark some dialogue around the topic of tires and tire safety.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), approximately 700 people die every year in tire-related crashes. When compared to the statistic for drunk driving (approx. 10,000/year), this may seem small. However, when you compare it to other vehicle-related deaths, this number is huge!

In the past several years, there have been three major vehicle-related issues that have tragically taken lives, prompting recalls and public outcry that something be done. The most recent one involved defective Takata airbags that not only ended in a massive recall but also forced action by the U.S. government, NHTSA, and other governments around the world. This was a very serious situation that has resulted in more than 20 deaths worldwide.

In addition, two other vehicle-related safety issues have made headlines in recent years. General Motors has recalled more than 29 million vehicles for ignition switch problems that resulted in 124 deaths, and Toyota recalled more than 3.5 million vehicles for a sudden acceleration situation that resulted in 89 deaths.

All three of these serious and unfortunate vehicle circumstances combined have resulted in only a small percentage of the total fatalities attributed to tire issues each year. All three of the previous examples were addressed through U.S. federal government regulations, but tire regulations are still lacking. The United States takes tires and tire safety lightly versus other highly populated nations. Most countries in Europe, for example, mandate some sort of annual tire inspection to ensure vehicles are operating safely in regard to tires. Why do we not have stronger regulations like this is in the U.S.?

Check out article #2 tomorrow, when I will address more tire safety statistics.

David Boyle is a 25-year automotive industry expert and the CEO of Tire Profiles, the leading supplier of tire and alignment measurement solutions.