Disappointment at Government’s initial response to producer responsibility question
In January, the Tyre Industry Council held one of its regular briefings for the press and associate companies. After welcome from Secretary Peter Taylor, Chris Wakley, who handles public relations for the TIC, gave a brief summary of last year’s activities. While stressing that the support from police forces was as strong as ever, he said that fewer tyre checks than planned had been carried out.
One reason for this was the need for cars to accompany the Green Goddesses during the firefighters’ strike, but another major reason was the perennial problem of lack of fitters to attend roadside checks. The reasons for this have been frequently aired in this magazine, but the fact is, said Wakley, that fitters are essential for the exercise, as police are sometimes reluctant to interpret tyre law at the roadside and rely on the trade’s specialist knowledge. The end result is that the number of cars checked was around half of that in 2001.
Despite this, the figures concerning illegal tyres are remarkably consistent, with 11.6% of cars checked having at least one tyre with a tread depth below 1.6 mm.
The figure for 2001 was 11.7%. However, when we look at what the TIC describes as “badly worn tyres” (ie with a tread depth above the legal minimum but below 2mm), there has been a worrying increase, from 11.
7% to 14.9%. Although common sense dictates that worn tyres increase the chances of an accident, this is not accepted by Government, who say that statistics show that tyres contribute to a very small number of accidents.