Tyre Inflation Message Still Ignored, Says TyreSafe
The message is still not getting through, says TyreSafe. Motorists are continuing to place their own lives, as well as those of passengers and other road users at risk by ignoring the dangers of incorrect tyre inflation. As Tyre Safety Month gets underway, the safety organisation has reported on Department for Transport statistics showing that illegal, defective or under-inflated tyres were a contributory factor in the death of 43 motorists in 2007, and played a part in a further 984 accidents.
New research conducted by TyreSafe has highlighted the scale of the problem – more than half of motorists surveyed have admitted they’d not checked their tyre pressure in the last month, the maximum period recommended by TyreSafe between pressure checks.
“In 2007, nearly one life was lost every single week of the year as a result of a road traffic accident where illegal, defective or under-inflated tyres were a contributory factor,” explains TyreSafe chairman Rob Beddis. “This tragic loss of life is unnecessary and could have been avoided by carrying out simple, regular checks on tyre pressure, tread depth and tyre condition. Under-inflated tyres can cause dramatic changes in the way a vehicle handles and corners, resulting in surprise and confusion for drivers, which often results in accidents. Additionally, tyres wear out more quickly and fuel consumption increases adding further burden to motorists already struggling with high fuel prices. By raising awareness of these issues throughout Tyre Safety Month, we hope motorists will heed our warnings so we can minimise future accidents and avoid further loss of life.”
TyreSafe’s research showed company car drivers to be the leading culprits, showing the most neglect when it comes to checking tyre pressure; only 31 per cent of these respondents had checked their pressures within the last month, compared to half of all private motorists. Women also fall way behind men in terms of taking responsibility for checking their pressures. 86 per cent of male respondents claim to check their own pressures, compared to just 38 per cent of women. With longer service intervals meaning that many cars now visit a garage just once a year, a worrying 11 per cent admitted that they left it to their garage to check their vehicle’s tyre pressure.
Despite the work carried out by TyreSafe, figures from VOSA suggest the problem is getting worse. In 2006/07, 11 per cent or 860,000 MOT failures were a result of tyre defects. In 2007/08, this figure rose to 14 per cent or 1.1 million failures, making it the fourth most common reason for MOT failure.
“Our findings illustrate why nearly three accidents occur every day on the UK’s roads where tyres are a contributory factor,” adds Beddis. “Checking tyre pressures is a simple maintenance activity that is free and takes only a few minutes to complete. If motorists are unsure how to check their pressures or do not know where to find the manufacturer’s recommended pressure they should visit one of the many tyre fitting centres across the UK that will be offering free tyre checks throughout Tyre Safety Month.”