Survey Unearths Safety Sloppiness Amongst Company Car Drivers
A survey conducted by TyreSafe has again shone a spotlight onto the UK motoring public’s inability to regularly check tyre tread depth. The organisation probed a sample group of 1,552 company car drivers from across the UK and was astounded to find an alarming 25 per cent had never – ever – checked the depth of their vehicle’s tyre tread. A further 41 per cent had not deigned their own safety and that of others sufficient reason to kneel down and take a look under the wheel arches during the last six months. Yet, notes TyreSafe, responsibility for tyre safety on fleet vehicles is the responsibility of both companies and employees, and those not making the necessary checks face fines and other penalties. To simplify the task of checking tyre tread, companies are being encouraged to promote TyreSafe’s ‘lifesaver in your pocket’ initiative – which encourages simple monthly checks using a 20p coin – to their employees.
“As part of their health and safety obligations, companies should make sure that drivers understand their own individual responsibility towards tyre checks,” explains TyreSafe chairman Stuart Jackson. “Company car drivers typically cover around 20,000 miles per year, almost double that of private motorists so it is particularly important that they pay attention to their tyres. Our 20p lifesaver is a really quick and simple way of seeing if your tyres have enough tread to be safe and legal. By performing these checks just once a month, we believe the number of work-related accidents and cost to UK businesses can be dramatically reduced.”
According to RoadSafe, as many as 1,100 people are killed and 118,000 seriously injured each year in the UK in work related road accidents. As TyreSafe notes, not only is staff morale and the reputation of the company damaged in these incidents, but significant costs are incurred through areas such as lost output, missed deliveries or meetings and higher insurance premiums.
TyreSafe’s ‘lifesaver in your pocket’ campaign encourages drivers to insert a 20p coin into the main grooves of the tyre to check the tread depth. If the outer band of the coin is visible when inserted, then the tyre may not have sufficient depth and should be checked by a qualified specialist.
Current UK law states that tread on car tyres must be a minimum of 1.6mm across the central three quarters of the tread, around its entire circumference. Drivers found in breach of this law face a fine of up to £2500 and three penalty points for each illegal tyre. Company car drivers accumulating enough points may have their licences withdrawn, and therefore face the added prospect of losing their job. A harsh consequence, perhaps, but adequate tread depth is critical to safe motoring, particularly as we approach the wettest months of the year. Tread grooves are designed to remove water from the road surface and keep the tyre in contact with the road. If the tread grooves are not deep enough, water cannot be moved, resulting in a loss of grip and traction.
TyreSafe’s ‘lifesaver in your pocket’ campaign is being promoted as part of October’s tyre safety month. Throughout the month hundreds of garages and tyre dealerships across the UK are offering free tyre safety checks. In addition, TyreSafe has produced a movie, presented by motoring journalist Quentin Willson, highlighting the dangers associated with driving on illegal tyres. To view the video visit www.tyresafe.org, or search for ‘TyreSafe’ on video sharing site YouTube.