New TyreSafe film more than just hot air
We’re often accused of spending too much time either watching films or surfing online, so it is heartening that TyreSafe has provided a good reason to do both. The association has launched a short film for businesses that explains how they can significantly reduce their fuel bills and ensure safer driving by correctly maintaining the tyres on their fleet vehicles. The film can be viewed at the www.tyresafe.org website.
Estimates published by TyreSafe suggest more than a third of the cars on UK roads have dangerously under-inflated tyres. When considering that a million new cars are registered every year by fleets and businesses, TyreSafe posits that an alarming scenario is taking shape. However the association is confident that by implementing a robust tyre maintenance policy, businesses and fleet operators can not only improve on-road safety, they can also enjoy lower running costs.
To drive the message home, the short film gives a graphic example of how the higher running costs for just one car can quickly escalate when applied to a typical larger fleet. “Businesses have a duty of care to ensure a safe working environment and this extends to the vehicles their staff use for work,” comments TyreSafe chairman Stuart Jackson. “If the prospect of a hefty fine wasn’t enough, then the chance to cut running costs must be reason to implement a tyre maintenance programme. Indeed, it’s been estimated that a car driving with tyres under-inflated by 20 per cent will reduce its fuel economy by three per cent. While that might not seem a lot for one car, when it’s multiplied across a large fleet covering many miles, then that’s a lot of wasted money.”
As the film emphasises, under-inflated tyres produce greater rolling resistance, requiring more energy to make them turn and forcing the engine to work harder than it needs to. And apart from the financial aspect of under-inflation, the film also shows the dangers it brings and how handling can be significantly compromised even if air pressure is reduced by just 6 psi, a typical level of under-inflation.
Should safety concerns and added fuel costs prove insufficient motivation to check your car’s tyres, TyreSafe points out that it isn’t just businesses that have a legal and moral responsibility to fulfil; individual drivers also face punitive fines for driving with illegal tyres, so are recommended to check their tyres at least once a month and before any long journey. Drivers who fail to comply with the regulations face a fine of up to £2,500 and three penalty points for each illegal tyre.
Meanwhile, TyreSafe points out that under the Health and Safety Offences Act, introduced in 2009, UK courts have greater authority to prosecute businesses for committing offences such as fitting illegal tyres or faulty brakes. The maximum penalty is now £20,000. The introduction of the Corporate Manslaughter Act in 2008 also means that businesses can no longer afford to ignore the impact of driving in relation to health and safety in the workplace. “Last year in the UK, more than 1,200 road casualties resulted from accidents where illegal, defective or under-inflated tyres were a contributory factor,” Jackson noted. “But what’s really galling is that many of these accidents might have been avoided through simple tyre checks.”