1 in 8 Vehicles ‘Dangerous’
Recent research carried by car care company, motoreasy has found that one in eight vehicles has at least one illegal and potentially dangerous tyre. Based on more than 1,000 tyre inspections taken at a number of the company’s approved independent garages across the UK. According to the research a further 24 per cent of tyres had tread so close to the legal requirement, a replacement would be needed “imminently.”
Regionally, Londoners were found to be the worst offenders, with a fifth of the cars tested running on tyres below the legal limit. In contrast, motorists in Scotland had the highest pass rate with only 6 per cent of cars in need of a replacement tyre.
The current legislation requires tread depth to be at least 1.6mm across the central three-quarters of the width of the tyre. This rule also applies to the spare tyre. Even so 17 per cent of those inspected were illegal, or would be following what the company describes as “a short usage.”
Quite apart from the obvious safety benefits of having correctly fitted tyres (shorter stopping distances, reduced likelihood of aquaplaning), according to this research, drivers are foregoing the main financial benefit of using safe tyres, i.e. improved fuel economy. Not to mention the legal costs: three penalty points and a fine of up to £2,500 per tyre.
“Added to this, insurance companies are within their rights not to pay out on claims if the vehicle insured is not in a roadworthy condition. It’s shocking that so many motorists seem to ignore the conditions of their tyres – something that should ideally be checked every fortnight,” commented Motoreasy managing director David Gerrans adding: “A simple method of checking the tread is to use a 5 pence coin. Slot an upside down coin into the tread of the tyre and the depth should come up to the top of the Queen’s crown. If you don’t reach the crown, it’s likely your treads are nearing the end of their life and should be replaced.”
If Motoreasy’s research is correct, millions of drivers are failing to meet the minimum legal standard. In light of this, it makes the manufacturers and UK trade associations attempts to introduce a three-millimetre minimum tread depth look a fair way off.