Tire Safety

The last week in June in the USA is Tire Safety week and we often see an extra amount of media coverage given to tire safety, much of it to the idea that tires are not safe. Read on and you'll learn why this is NOT a big issue.

Are tires safe, or not?


What got me thinking about this was a press release which I received just recently from a lawyer who specializes in claims for damages due to defective tires. Naturally, since her business is to profit from tires being defective, she is going to tend to emphasize how bad they are.

She started the press release saying

"Each year in the United States, defective tires are responsible for nearly 8,000 motor vehicle accidents, many being serious. There have been a number of high-profile tire recalls in the past few years, which demonstrate the severity of defective tires. Since the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act was passed in 1966, there have been more than 24 million tires recalled because of safety defects."

The way she wrote this it sound pretty bad, but when you put it into perspective, the picture changes considerably.

less than 1 tire in every 37,500 might fail

Let's look at what she said. First she said that there were less than 8,000 tires a year that were defective and responsible for accidents --some of those were serious, others were not. What she didn't say was that in the US, there are more than 300,000,000 tires made every year, and in addition, there are some number of tires sold in the US that were made in other countries. What this works out to is that less than 1 tire in every 37,500 might fail in some way.

Tire Safety and You

Does this still seem like a lot or risk to you?

Just one driver in 567 can expect to find one defective tire in their entire lives!

Let's convert this into the chances of you ending up with any kind of a defective tire in your lifetime. If you are a typical driver, it is likely that you will be buying 4 new tires every 3 years (or more). This means that over a driving lifetime of 50 years, you'd purchase roughly 66 tires. Buying that many tires in your entire driving lifetime gives you less than a one tenth of one percent (0.17%), or stated in a different way between you and another 567 drivers, just one of you would be likely to find a defective tire causing an accident in all of your driving lifetimes.

Of all US car accidents only 1 in every 802 were caused by defective tires.

Looking at this from another perspective, there were nearly 6,420,000 auto accidents in the United States in 2005. If 8,000 were caused by tires, that's only 0.12% or one in every 802 were caused by tire defects. So even if you are involved in some kind of an accident, the chances of it being caused by a problem with tires -- even on the other car's tires is pretty slim.

I don't know about you, but looked at in this way, tire safety seems to me to be pretty good. Add to that your own care and attention, doing regular safety checks and you don't need to lose any sleep over your tires.


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