Tires will have to meet stiff new safety standards by 2007, including the ability to pass tougher high speed, endurance and low inflation tests, federal safety regulators said June 23, according to the Detroit News
.The new federal tire standards are the first since 1967. After the Firestone tire crisiserupted, Congress mandated the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) strengthen standards covering tires on new cars and trucks. The tests will apply to nearly all new tires for use on passenger cars and light trucks up to 10,000 pounds, the News
reported."Without question, these new performance requirements will improve tire safety," NHTSAAdministrator Jeffrey Runge said.Tire manufacturers, which will have until June 2007 to comply, have expressed concerns in recent months about the cost of re-engineering tires to meet the standards, the News
said.NHTSA estimated that up to 11 percent of tires will have to be re-engineered to meet the new standards. The new requirements are expected to cost tire makers' $31.6 million and prevent at least four deaths and 102 injuries each year, NHTSA said.