Friday, March 5, 2010

Continental Tire helps to improve traffic safety of students

Continental Tire’s execution of a winter tire test on small school buses, supports the Ministry of Education in taking immediate action and equip all its multi-function activity vehicles (MFAV) with six winter tires.

Ana Acevedo, Isabelle Hains and Marcella Kelly in front of Continental Tires testing facility in Brimley, Michigan, February 24, 2010.

TORONTO, ON – (March 5, 2010) – Following the New Brunswick Department of Education guidelines, small school buses only needed to be outfitted with winter tires on the (dual) rear axle in the past. All-season tires were recommended for the front axle.

Shockingly, this policy has not been changed even after the tragic collision of a school van with a transport truck in January 2008, claiming the lives of seven New Brunswick high school students and their teacher.

The test 21 passenger MFAV that was used at the Continental Tires test facility in Brimley, Michigan, USA on February 24, 2010, "In Memory Of The Boys In Red".

Experts have been debating over the last couple of months which would be the safest tire fitment for these types of vehicles. For Continental Tire, who ranks safety first, this was more than reason enough to take the lead and offer the execution of a winter tire test on small school buses at its state-of-the-art proving ground in Brimley, MI.

Continental Tire chose to investigate in three different scenarios: braking on snow with a 21 passenger MFAV outfitted with the Original Equipment (all-season tires on both axles), braking on snow with a MFAV outfitted with winter tires in the rear and all-season tires in the front, and braking on snow with a MFAV outfitted with winter tires on all four wheels.

The difference was profound: It took the MFAV with mixed fitment of winter tires and all-season tires as favored by the New Brunswick government about 30% longer to come to a full stop compared to the use of winter tires on all axles. It got even worse when compared to the Original Equipment fitment of the bus (All-season tires on all axles) – the stopping distance was over 50% longer, an additional 21 meters from 60 km/h.

Marcella Kelly, Isabelle Hains and Ana Acevedo with Jay Spears of Continental Tires at Continental Tires testing facility in Brimley, Michigan, USA, February 24, 2010.

"You will for sure not be able to stop as fast as you're able to accelerate because traction for all-season tires in snow is much lower. When you brake, your weight is shifting forward, so the increased traction in the rear is not helping much” says Joerg Burfien, Continental Tire's director of R&D for the Americas.

"The same is valid for steering or steering response. You will have very high traction on the rear axle and very limited traction on the front which will promote excessive under-steering conditions” he further explains.

“Our test results now clearly underline our initial recommendation to run winter tires on all axles. With a mixed fitment (A/S front and winter rear) the bus already fails a simple accident avoidance maneuver at 60 km/h while it passes on winter tires just fine. This is probably the most convincing argument for the use of winter tires and we are glad that authorities are now changing their recommendation to the use of winter tires on all axles effective immediately.” Burfien continued.

Continental Tire is very proud to have made a significant contribution to traffic safety in Canada and thus ensuring the maximum safety for students on wintry roads in the future.

Isabelle Hains, Martin Cuisineau of Continental Tires, Ana Acevedo and Marcella Kelly at Continental Tires testing facility in Brimely, Michigan, USA, February 24, 2010.

On Line Media Database

On-line media database:

North America on-line media database:,

About Continental Tire

Continental Tire is a division of the Continental Corporation, and offers a complete premium line of ultra-high performance, passenger and light truck tires that instill confidence and a passion for driving. Continental tires are fitted as original equipment on many of the world’s finest automobiles. Learn more about Continental Tire by visiting us at

With sales of approximately €20 billion in 2009 Continental is among the leading automotive suppliers worldwide. As a supplier of brake systems, systems and components for powertrains and chassis, instrumentation, infotainment solutions, vehicle electronics, tires and technical elastomers, Continental contributes enhanced driving safety and global climate protection. Continental is also a competent partner in networked automobile communication. Continental currently employs approximately 134,500 in 46 countries.