Tire Efficiency Consumer Information BETA

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Rule Map–>Consumer Education Program–> HOW?

NHTSA’s current consumer education efforts on tire maintenance and safety include:

  • The Uniform Tire Quality Grading Standards (UTQGS) ratings molded onto the side of every tire, which provide information on treadwear, traction performance, and temperature resistance.  NHTSA publishes a consumer pamphlet explaining the UTQGS ratings nd has also posted the information on its consumer website, Safecar.gov.
  • A tire pressure campaign, What’s Your PSI?, designed to promote proper tire pressure. The campaign involved the distribution of materials through tire safety partners as well as an interactive online tire quiz.
  • The Tire Safety: Everything Rides On It brochure, updated in 2008, which provides information on proper tire pressure, load limits, and maintenance.
  • Public service announcements to remind consumers to check their tire pressure during hot days.
  • Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems (TPMS),  required in all new car models after 2008, which notify drivers automatically about low tire pressure. NHTSA recognizes, though, that inflation changes smaller than those registered by TPMS can affect fuel economy, safety, and tire life.

NHTSA’s overall goal is to disseminate information on the importance of tire maintenance generally, including tire inflation pressure, alignment, rotation, and other tire issues.  The agency  proposes to distribute information to consumers in several ways:

Point of Sale: In addition to new consumer labels affixed to replacement tires,  information on fuel efficiency and other ratings  may be displayed at kiosks, on overhead posters, tire plaques, or in advertisements at the point of purchase, online retailers, and on manufacturer web sites.  (See proposed responsibilities of tire manufacturers and tire retailers.)  NHTSA plans to make posters available on its Web site for tire retailers and manufacturers to download.

Interactive Media:  Agency research shows consumer interest in a “fuel savings calculator” associated with the purchase of new tires.  NHTSA may make this available online, at a dealership, or a tire retailer. The calculator would permit tire comparisons and would provide information such as yearly or lifetime fuel savings associated with switching to a particular type of tires.

Web Site Development:  NHTSA proposed to create a sub-section of its Safecar.gov website where it would consolidate all of its consumer tire information resources and provide an overall message regarding tire maintenance. This micro-site would serve as the go-to source for safety, fuel efficiency, and tire life and vehicle handling information. NHTSA proposes to include links to other government sites with information on energy efficiency and energy efficient goods. The site will also contain a link to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) regarding the tire fuel efficiency rating system and a tire fuel efficiency search database allowing consumers to compare tires prior to visiting a retailer. Dealers could satisfy their obligations to provide consumers with tire ratings information by providing a computer kiosk linked to the NHTSA Web site for use by consumers while in their store.

Paper Brochure Materials: NHTSA plans to publish a brochure to inform consumers about the tire fuel efficiency ratings program and where to find more information.  The goal is to encourage consumers to research tire information before visiting a tire retailer.  NHTSA would make also the brochure available online for download by retailers who wish to print it and use it in their stores.  Are there other avenues of distribution it should consider?

Partnership Development:  NHTSA believes it can spread the message further by partnering with retailers, state and local governments, and educational institutions .  The agency believes these third-party relationships will build credibility and awareness among the media.   It plans to develop a toolkit that partners can use in consumer education efforts.  NHTSA also proposes to work with EPA and its SmartWay program to make tire fuel efficiency information available through an integrated outreach effort.

Exhibits and Conferencing:  NHTSA currently attends auto-related shows and conferences where it distributes materials from its campaigns and interfaces with consumers interested in vehicle safety information. It proposes to would provide fuel efficiency consumer education information at these conferences in the future.

Local Education Programs: NHTSA plans to work with local and regional offices to provide speeches and other outreach presentations and materials to local universities and high schools since students at those locations are considered a target audience for tire efficiency, safety and maintenance information.

Are there other ways NHTSA could get the message out to consumers?

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