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Pirelli, Autostrade per l’Italia and Telepass: the highway safety campaign for the summer season kicks off

The campaign initiatives, outlined to the Minister of Infrastructure and Transport, Altero Matteoli, will begin the weekend of 19-20 June and continue until 28-29 August

Pirelli is offering a free tyre check-up at three mobile garages located at key points in the highway network, as well as a safety incentive to replace tyres

An Assogomma-Federpneus-Polizia Stradale study found that over 50% of Italians travel with tyres that are unsuitable

Our partners in safety, Autostrade per l’Italia and Telepass, will contribute by providing information about this initiative on their channels and will also provide space in the Service Areas to carry out tyre inspections

A safe travelling manual will be distributed to drivers, promoted by Autostrade per l’Italia

An estimated one million travellers will stop at the Service Areas and will be involved in the initiatives

The Pirelli Group and Autostrade per l’Italia presented the summer highway safety campaign, “Safe&Go”, in Rome today, with Italy’s Minister of Infrastructure and Transport, Altero Matteoli. The campaign was designed and will be carried out by the two companies.

Participating with Minister Matteoli, were Marco Tronchetti Provera, the Chairman of the Pirelli Group, and Giovanni Castellucci and Fabio Cerchiai, the Managing Director and Chairman of Autostrade per l’Italia.

The prevention and awareness campaign is aimed at all drivers who use the Autostrade per l’Italia network during the coming weekends of heavy outbound and inbound holiday traffic, with the objective of making the holiday period safer for everyone. The project will begin on the weekend of 19-20 June and end on the weekend of 28-29 August.

During the weekends of the campaign, specialized technicians will offer complete tyre check-ups free of charge at Pirelli check points located at key points in the Autostrade per l’Italia network, checking pressure and evaluating wear on the outside of the tyres, as well as measuring remaining tread. Check-ups will be completed with the presentation of a certificate that indicates the tyre’s overall condition. Additionally, drivers will receive informational material regarding proper tyre maintenance and they will also receive instruction in the use of a thickness gauge. This tool, which will be given free to every driver, can be used to check the remaining tread level without needing to visit a mechanic. By law, tyre tread must be greater than 1.6 millimetres.

In order to increase driver awareness regarding the importance of checking tyres during the six weeks of the campaign, the overhead message boards located throughout the Autostrade per l’Italia network will encourage drivers to check their tyres at the appropriate service areas. The project will be supported by informational signs distributed to 150 different areas throughout the highway network and by an intense informational campaign using the radio, Internet, and press, as well as through the distribution of 250,000 highway safety manuals in the service areas, which contain the manual designed and promoted by Autostrade per l’Italia, that explains the rules to follow for safe highway driving.

Additionally, the campaign will be carried out with the assistance of the 1,400 tyre dealers in the Pirelli network, located throughout Italy, who will be asked to inform drivers about the fundamental role that the tyre holds and about the importance of proper maintenance and preventive care.

Tyre quality and proper tyre maintenance are two of the most important elements in terms of preventing highway accidents. Tyres are the only point of contact that cars have between the vehicle and the road — this contact is the determining factor when braking, as well as in terms of road grip under all conditions, from dry, to wet, to straight line, to turning. Under certain conditions, a worn tyre or one that is not inflated properly can increase braking distance by up to 70%, making it impossible to avoid obstacles or to keep the vehicle straight.

As numerous field tests have shown, not enough attention is paid to tyres. According to a recent study carried out by Federpneus and Assogomma with the assistance of the Highway Police, over 50% of Italians travel with under-inflated tyres or tyres that are worn or damaged or even not approved for use.

The mobile garages will be spread out to work with the flow of traffic both going towards holiday areas and returning towards the largest urban areas.

Safety, the environment, and performance,” explained Marco Tronchetti Provera, the president of the Pirelli group, “are the fundamental elements that guide our group’s research activities. Pirelli’s labs are focused on finding innovative solutions to help protect the environment and increase road safety, while still offering maximum performance. However, it’s important that there be an understanding between companies and public institutions. An important step forward was represented by the recent decision to make electronic pressure monitoring systems for tyres on new cars mandatory in Europe from 2012 on. In the last few months, the European Commission has also been discussing adding an additional stage to this product, aimed at increasing the precision of these monitoring systems. These norms offer benefits in terms of safety and in reduction of fuel consumption, without any additional costs. Their approval will be determined by whether the Italian government supports them or not.”

“It’s truly positive,” declared Giovanni Castellucci, managing director of Autostrade d’Italia, “that two important companies such as Autostrade and Pirelli have combined their forces for this project that offers concrete benefits in terms of highway safety. Since the company was privatized in 2000, we have reduced the mortality rate on our network by almost 72%. This means 300 fewer fatalities per year, a number that allows us to declare that we have exceeded, two years early, the objective set by the EU to decrease highway fatalities by half. We have succeeded in achieving these results thanks to numerous safety initiatives, including extending draining asphalt throughout the entire network, our public awareness campaign regarding the risks of unsafe driving, the creation of the Consulting Group for Safety and Service Quality, and due to the two million coffees that we have distributed free of charge at night, but above all, thanks to Tutor, the innovative system that controls average driving speed, designed and financed by Autostrade, and installed on over 2,000 kilometres of the network. Tutor, which is managed by the Highway Police, has made it possible to halve fatality rates in the areas where it is installed year after year.

This project also includes an incentive campaign to encourage drivers to replace their tyres, which is 100% financed by Pirelli. These incentives call for a contribution of up to Euro 170 for those who to decide to replace their worn or unsuitable tyres with new Pirelli tyres by 14 August 2010. In fact, the safety incentive also provides for an additional Euro 100 discount on successive purchases (by 31 May 2011) of a train of tyres and the additional possibility to gain up to Euro 70 in highway toll bonuses for those that have Telepass Premium.

This project is aimed at raising awareness about the importance of proper use and maintenance of tyres and at creating an incentive to replace tyres immediately when necessary, in the case of worn or damaged tyres.

The checks will take place on the highway heading towards the sea on 19 June, 26 June, 3 July, 17 July, 31 July, and 28 August, at the following service areas: Prenestina West on the A1, Stura West on the A26, Conero West on the A14, Somaglia West on the A1, and La Pioppa West on the A14. The checks will take place in the areas near important urban areas with the greatest traffic flow on 20 June, 27 June, 4 July, 18 July, 1 August, and 29 August, at the following service areas: Cantagallo East on the A1, Torre Cerrano East on the A14, San Martino East on the A1, and La Macchia East on the A1.

An estimated one million travellers will take a break in the Service Areas involved in the initiatives during the campaign.

Other Pirelli and Autostrade per l’Italia initiatives for highway safety

All over the world, the name Pirelli is synonymous with high performance and safety. Highway safety and environmental protection make up the key elements of the Green Performance strategy — the foundation for the Group’s industrial and commercial decisions. Pirelli’s efforts in terms of highway safety include numerous training and informational projects, but are especially focused on continuous research and application of innovative technological solutions that support sustainable mobility.

This means developing ecological materials and tyre structures that can obtain the utmost in fuel savings, while simultaneously increasing vehicle safety parameters, above all during braking and turning. The fundamental characteristics of the new Pirelli product line are safety, performance, and respect for the environment. This line is part of the Cinturato group, and offers tyres for all types of vehicles, from the Series 01 for heavy transport, to Scorpion Verde for SUVs, and on to the new Winter seasonal tyres.

Pirelli research has also led to cutting edge solutions such as the Cyber Tyre, an intelligent tyre able to “read” the roadbed thanks to an integrated chip that controls the wear and pressure of the tyre itself, providing important information about the state of the tyre and the conditions of the road beneath it. And yet again, Pirelli is one step ahead of the European regulations. The first version of the Cyber Tyre, currently in the final stages of testing before market launch, will not only meet all the obligatory regulations in terms of tyre pressure monitoring which come into effect in 2012, but it will also meet the stricter Stage II regulations, which guarantee yet another step forward in terms of tyre safety. The international financial sustainability indexes have been rewarding these efforts since 2000 and in 2010, for the third year in a row, the Dow Jones Sustainability Index declared Pirelli a world leader in sustainability for the auto parts and tyres sector.

In the context of its own efforts for highway safety, Autostrade per l’Italia has also developed numerous initiatives over the last few years. Among the various projects, we first note Tutor, the innovative system that is able to obtain information about a vehicle’s average speed, which was developed and financed by Autostrade per l’Italia, and is managed by the Highway Police. Tutor brought about a genuine revolution in the general public’s driving habits, making them increasingly prudent and responsible. It contributed to a decrease in fatal accidents of over 51%, and decreased the rate of accidents with injuries by 27% in the 2,200 kilometres in which it is installed. The Consulting Group for Safety and Service Quality has also achieved notable results. This Group was established by Autostrade in 2006, with the aim of identifying and developing initiatives and improvement plans to increase service quality and safety. In addition to Autostrade per l’Italia, the following consumer associations participated: Adoc, Adusbef, Codacons, and Federconsumatori, as well as the Polizia Stradale, Asaps, Isoradio, Quattroruote, and the Central Committee for the National Registry of Haulage Contractors. Other initiatives of note include the installation of draining asphalt in 81.6% of the road network, which comes to 100% if areas where this type of intervention isn’t appropriate are excluded; the replacement or modernization of 2,577 kilometres of traffic dividers making up more than 90% of the road network; the Tunnel Safety Plan, which involves 407 tunnels and calls for the adaptation of the illumination, ventilation, fire safety, and traffic control systems; the communication campaigns aimed at safe driving in conformance with the Highway Code, including television ads “Use Your Head” (in collaboration with Rai Educational), “Life Is Breath” (1 million alcohol testers distributed free in service areas), and the “Free Coffee” initiative that distributed 2 million free coffees on weekend nights in service areas.