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Office of Management and Budget
News Release


February 13, 2002

OMB Asks NHTSA for Better Tire-Safety Analysis

Washington, DC -- The Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs of OMB, in a decision announced today, has returned a draft final rule to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for further consideration. OMB has asked NHTSA to consider a regulatory alternative that may be safer for motorists than the NHTSA’s draft final rule.


Congress has directed NHTSA to develop a rule that would require automakers to provide information to drivers about whether a vehicle’s tires are under-inflated. Operating a vehicle with inadequately inflated tires can be dangerous.


Currently, the most widely used tire-pressure monitoring system in vehicles is an "indirect" system that detects tire pressure based on information from a car’s anti-lock braking system. In its draft final rule, however, NHTSA would -- over a 4-year period -- effectively phase out the current indirect systems. Instead, it would compel vehicle manufacturers to meet a "4-wheel" rule that would require some form of direct pressure monitoring. As a result, OMB is concerned that NHTSA’s approach would discourage vehicle manufacturers from installing anti-lock brakes for consumers. Allowing indirect systems as well as direct systems effectively reduces the cost of installing anti-lock brakes by 22%. The most recent evidence indicates that anti-lock brakes reduce crashes, injuries and fatalities.


In light of concerns about anti-lock brakes and other flaws in NHTSA’s safety analysis, OMB has returned the draft final rule to NHTSA for expedited reconsideration. OIRA Administrator John D. Graham commented that "we believe that an incentive to install anti-lock brakes should be considered as part of the regulatory solution." OMB expects a resubmission by NHTSA within six weeks.


A copy of OMB’s return letter to NHTSA is posted on OMB’s web site at



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