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History TPMS

History of TPMS

Tire pressure has a significant impact on vehicle safety. TPMS was originally introduced in the European market in the 1980s. The feature was initially only available for luxury vehicles. The first vehicle equipped with TPMS technology was the Porsche 959 in 1986.  Other manufacturers began to follow suit with Peugeot introducing TPMS in the Peugeot 607 in 1999. Then in 2000, the Laguna II from Renault became the world's first high volume mid-size passenger vehicle to come standard with TPMS.

The TREAD Act

The late 1990s saw a high rate of fatal accidents for certain SUV models equipped with Firestone tires including the Ford Explorer and Mercury Mountaineer. Over 250 deaths and 3,000 injuries were linked to tire failure involving tread separation, causing severe accidents. This incident led to the enacting of the TREAD (Transportation Recall Enhancement, Accountability and Documentation) Act in 2000 to increase consumer safety on the road. The legislation mandates all light motor vehicles under 10,000 pounds to be equipped with TPMS technology. Implementation began in October 2005 with 20% of new vehicles and reached 100% for all 2008 model year vehicles. Similar legislation has also passed in the European Union which now requires all new passenger vehicles to be equipped with TPMS from November 1, 2014.

Vehicle Safety

Proper tire inflation is essential for vehicle safety. A national survey by the Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA) found that only one in six U.S. regularly check their tire pressure. This is an alarming statistic given the dangers of driving with under-inflated tires. NHTSA estimates that the number of accidents related to tire failure will drastically reduce for passenger vehicles equipped with TPMS. These systems are designed to warn drivers when tires are under-inflated so appropriate action can be taken.

A tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) is made up of sensors located on each tire to measure air pressure. A warning indicator on the instrument panel lights up when air pressure on any one of the tires reaches below a certain amount. The importance of these systems cannot be stressed enough.

For example, under-inflated tires:
‧Affect driving performance
‧Lead to premature tire wear
‧Reduce fuel efficiency
‧Are more prone to blowing out

Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that 11,000 vehicle accidents occur every year as a direct result of tire failure. These systems are now required in the U.S. and in the European Union.