Tyre Safety Month Gets Underway
It might not be October just yet, but Tyre Safety Month began in earnest yesterday when TyreSafe demonstrated the effects of driving with under-inflated tyres at the Millbrook test centre in Bedfordshire. This year’s awareness raising campaign puts simple tyre pressure maintenance well and truly at the centre of the safety agenda. When October’s Tyre Safety Month begins, TyreSafe will use publicity in the print, online and broadcast media to advise motorists to check their tyre pressures and stay safe on the roads. TyreSafe’s demonstrations clearly showed the market negative effects of driving with underinflated tyres particularly with regard to: cornering, handling, fuel economy and temperature.
According to TyreSafe, the latest statistics released by the Department for Transport show that illegal, defective or under-inflated tyres were a contributory factor in the deaths 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, with more than half of motorists surveyed admitting that they had 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 Rob Beddis, chairman, TyreSafe. “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 that company car drivers are the most neglectful when it comes to checking tyre pressure, with only 31 per cent of respondents having checked their pressures within the last month, compared to 50 per cent of private motorists. Women fall way behind men in terms of taking responsibility for checking their pressures. 86 percent of male respondents claim to check their own pressures compared to just 38 percent 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 tyre pressure.
Despite the valuable 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.”
TyreSafe receives positive support from many major tyre manufacturers and retailers, and has been credited with reducing the number of defective tyres in the UK over the past decade from 18 per cent to 12 per cent.