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From the NYT:

LIFE is not easy for tires. Beyond the injuries meted out by potholes and the stress imposed by drivers who insist on squealing through curves, there is the indignity of underinflation.

Tires with insufficient air pressure — a typical sign of owner indifference — not only reduce a car’s fuel economy and wear out faster, they are also at risk for blowouts. According to the Transportation Department, more than a quarter of all cars on American roads have at least one tire that is seriously low on air.

Since 2007, the federal government has required some form of tire pressure monitoring as a standard safety feature on new vehicles, and a phase-in of the systems will begin in Europe in a couple of years. The requirement was stipulated by Congress in 2000 as part of the Tread Act (the acronym stands for Transportation Recall Enhancement, Accountability and Documentation) following a swarm of rollover accidents and fatalities involving Firestone tires on Ford Explorers and similar trucks.

More info here.

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