August 30, 2001 11:00 pm

The numbers are in from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on tire safety, and they should make every driver in America wake up and pay attention.

A recent government study concluded that about one-third of vans, pickup trucks and sport utility vehicles had at least one tire that was substantially underinflated. Approximately one-fourth of the cars surveyed had one tire underinflated.

And heres the warning: Low tire pressure causes extra stress and heat that can lead to blowouts and tread separation.

The survey considered a tire to be underinflated if it was 8 pounds per square inch or more below the vehicle manufacturers recommended inflation pressure. That is 25 percent for the common recommended inflation pressure of 32 psi.

A vehicle owners manual, a tire shop, a service station attendant or a sticker on the drivers door can advise a motorist what the recommended pressure should be. Rotating the tires every 5,000 miles also is a good time to check if a tire is underinflated. Motorists also can visually inspect their tires to see if one is going flat.

Firestone over the past year has surfaced as the villain in many tire-related accidents causing deaths and injuries. The government study makes us wonder if the problem goes beyond a specific tire brand, and has much to do with drivers failing to watch their tire pressure.

Motorists should get in the habit of checking their tires. They can pick up an inexpensive pressure tester at an auto parts store and keep it in their glove box. Motorists should not wait for the next lube job and oil change to have someone check to see how their tires are doing.


Theres a new game coming to Eastern Oregon University this fall, and its called volleyball.

Changes in the rules at the college level promise to make volleyball an even more exciting spectator sport. Teams will be required to score 30 points to win a game, up from 15. A major difference is that teams will be able to score on every point. In the past, a team only scored if it was serving.

The new rules also specify that serves that touch the net and go over will be considered live balls. Previously, serves touching the nets were called out. That will speed up the game.

Because of an influx of some strong new recruits brought to the program by Coach Sharon Campbell, EOUs volleyball squad promises to be more competitive than last years team, which finished 9-17.

Area sports fans this fall should check out Easterns volleyball team. They should plan to stop by Quinn Coliseum to see how a few rules changes can make an interesting game more exciting.