NTSB releases numbers about deadly tire-related accidents

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At a board meeting of the National Transportation Safety Board Tuesday, numbers were released from an investigative report highlighting serious problems related to tires and tire recalls.

The report says more than 500 people die every year in tire-related passenger vehicle crashes. About 19,000 people are injured annually, and most of these crashes are preventable, it said.

Oak Hollow Tire Car Care Center owner Ronnie Bridges was not surprised by those numbers.

"If the tire is not holding pressure, if the tire is worn badly, if the tire does not have good tread on it… on a day like today when we’ve got 50 degrees and rain, this vehicle has a much less stopping distance than it does on a dry road," he pointed out.

One main concern is the system for tire recalls. The NTSB reported only 20 percent of people with recalled tires actually take them in for exchange or repair because of the recall; 24 percent bring them in for another incidental reason.

During the discussion Tuesday, the NTSB said that means more than half of tires (1.5 to 2 million) remained on the road and were potentially unsafe.

One solution they discussed was requiring point of sale registration of new tires at all tire dealerships. Right now, if you buy directly from a manufacturer, they are required to help customers register. But if you buy tires from an independent tire dealer, as many people do, it’s usually up to the consumer.

Bridges says they automatically help customers register tires because it’s a quick process and very important to tire safety.

“With a new set of tires, you are stopping on average of 5 to 8 feet shorter than you are on a set of worn-out tires. Five to 8 feet can be the difference between being in the rear end of somebody and stopping. Tires are very important on an automobile,” he explained.