Thursday, September 28, 2000

Reducing Road Alligators: Dispelling Myths About Rubber on the Road
(ARA) - Almost everyone knows that alligators are dangerous reptiles that should be avoided. Rubber tire debris, also known as "Road Alligators," can also be a potential threat to vehicle owners and other motorists on the road, not to mention dangerous and unsightly litter occupying America's highways.

The myth about "Road Alligators" is that they are caused solely by the use of retreaded tires that use recycled rubber for the tread of the tire. But the Tire Retread Information Bureau (TRIB) is informing consumers that, in actuality, most tire debris is caused by improperly maintained tires, and not just the use of retreaded tires. Tires that are driven underinflated, vehicles that are driven overloaded, mismatched tires on dual wheel positions, the failure of truckers to stop when a tire problem is detected, all contribute to the problem of tire debris on highways.

Harvey Brodsky, Managing Director of the Tire Retread Information Bureau emphasizes that the problem of tire debris is very serious and won't go away until truckers and other motorists begin to maintain their tires in a better fashion than they do now. The Bureau says this means motorists MUST check air pressure on a regular basis and add air whenever their tires need it to run at the proper level of inflation.

Drivers should also be made aware of the importance of stopping immediately whenever a tire problem is detected. Most vehicle owners aren't aware that a tire that is run 20 percent or more underinflated in considered a run-flat by the tire industry. To try and continue to the nearest service station or truck stop is looking for trouble and can cause serious accidents, in addition to leaving tire debris all over our highways. "Tires that are run underinflated long enough WILL come apart. It isn't a question of if, it's a question of when, and it doesn't matter if the tire is a retread or one that has never been retreaded," says Brodsky.

Not only is the Tire Retread Information Bureau dispelling the myths regarding retreaded tires, they are educating motorists on the unique benefits they offer to all drivers. Retreaded tires are a safe and economical alternative to new tires. Almost 100 percent of the world's airlines trust the safety of retreaded tires and use them on nearly all of their aircraft. They are used on school buses, military equipment and taxis all over the country. Even President Clinton, who signed an executive order titled "Greening the Government through Waste Prevention, Recycling and Federal Acquisition," included a mandate requiring the use of retreaded tires on all government vehicles.

This mandate is a result of the reliability retreaded tires offer, as well as ecological benefits. According to the Tire Retread Information Bureau, it takes about 7 gallons of oil to manufacture one new passenger tire. A retreaded tire only requires 2.5 gallons, and the savings with truck retreads is even greater, resulting in a savings of approximately 400 million gallons of oil a year. The environmental benefits along with their lower cost, 30 to 50 percent lower than new tires, make retreaded tires a dependable alternative.

Although there will probably always be tire debris on our highways, truckers and other motorists can greatly help to reduce the problem by regularly checking the air pressure in their tires with a properly calibrated tire gauge, and by visually checking their tires for deformations, cracks and other signs that the tire might be getting ready to fail.

The retread industry is making the effort to educate motorists for their own safety and for the safety of all drivers on the roads, but it's up to the drivers themselves to follow through. Properly maintaining any kind of tire you own, retreaded or otherwise, can help lengthen the life span of your tire and contribute to the reduction in the number of road alligators loitering on the side of the road, and keep them in the swamp where they belong.

For more information about the problem of tire debris and what the retread industry is doing about it, contact the Tire Retread Information Bureau, toll free from anywhere in North America at (888) 473-8732, or e-mail at You can also visit their Web sites, and

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