Monday, 10 August 2015

TyreSafe: 10 million illegal tyres on British roads . . .


TyreSafe: 10 million illegal tyres on British roads

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TyreSafe chairman Stuart Jackson demonstrates the simplest method of checking tread depth using an over-sized twenty pence piece.

Yesterday, 9 July 2015, TyreSafe held its annual industry briefing at the National Motorcycle Museum near Solihull. During the event TyreSafe announced the fun, shall we say “suggestive” theme for this year’s Tyre Safety Month and presented case studies of previous Tyre Safety Month activities alongside an update from Highways England’s Stuart Lovatt. However, as interesting as this was, the results of TyreSafe’s most recent tread depth survey, showing that there are potentially up to 10 million illegal and dangerous tyres on Britain’s roads – around 27 per cent of the whole market – really stood out.

With the latest survey figures in mind, TyreSafe believes many more millions of motorists are avoiding having illegal tyres on their vehicles more by luck than judgement. In addition to over a quarter of replaced tyres being illegal, more than a third of all tyres surveyed were extremely close to the legal limit with a maximum of 0.4mm of tread depth remaining before becoming illegal – about half the thickness of a bank card. That thickness can only be measured using an accurate tread depth gauge, but previous research shows very few drivers are actually carrying out routine tyre checks of any sort.

Britain Combined: England, Scotland and Wales
Tread depth
Under 2mm
Over 2mm
Under 1.6 mm
Source: TyreSafe
Tyres with tread depths beneath 1.6mm aside, things were even worse when you consider how many were borderline (which TyreSafe describes as 2mm of tread-depth or less – and therefore including the illegal one already counted). By this measure almost 4:10 (38.9 per cent) of tyres are dangerously close to illegal. Break it down by country and you see that England is below average (38 per cent), Scotland is again better than average (32 per cent) and Wales is much worse, with a huge 51.5 per cent of tyres illegal or close to it.

“TyreSafe does not believe millions of drivers are intentionally putting others at risk – it is more a question of educating motorists to take responsibility for their safety and that of others on the road,” said Stuart Jackson, TyreSafe chairman. “As vehicles have become increasingly reliable, owners have become less used to performing what were once considered basic precautionary checks before setting off on a journey. Tyres too are much more technologically advanced but they do wear and can get damaged so it is down to the driver to regularly check they’re safe. The evidence provided by the TyreSafe survey underlines what we already feared – awareness among Britain’s motorists’ of the importance of tyre safety urgently needs to improve.”

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