Tread depth measurers – the new speed camera?
Earlier this year, Tyres & Accessories reported on one tyre maker's installation of a tread depth measurement unit at its premises in the Netherlands. Similar equipment may become a familiar sight to British motorists in the future – and not everybody is pleased about this.
Auto Express reports it received confirmation from the Chief Police Officers (ACPO) that its advisor on road policing enforcement technology, Trevor Hall, inspected a measurement unit while visiting manufacturer ProContour in Germany. The ProContour unit Hall viewed sells for around £43,000 and employs a combination of cameras and lasers to measure the depth of each tyre groove. The unit in question registers when the centre of the tyre has a tread depth below 1.6mm. Commenting on the visit, ProContour’s marketing director, Florian Hitzler, reported Hall was “quite excited.”
Although an ACPO spokesman told Auto Express that motorists found driving on tread below the legal depth requirement initially wouldn’t be penalised with demerit points, the idea of installing the units has failed to enthuse some road users. Reader comments posted on the Auto Express website reflect concern the equipment would be used as a revenue earner and refer to the idea as “just getting pathetic” and “absolutely ridiculous”, while one person opined that “if Hall is excited, it is because he can see pound signs before his eyes.”
Criticism has also come from the RAC. Speaking on behalf of the motoring organisation, Adrian Tink commented: “Should this be a priority when resources are limited? £43,000 could fill a lot of potholes, and issues such as drink-driving or driving while using a mobile are more important. Anything that improves safety is welcome. But motorists are going to be left scratching their heads if they start getting fines or points for their tyres.”