Tyre safety check data alarming – Bridgestone
The release of 2012 statistics gathered by Bridgestone while taking out more than 28,000 free tyre safety checks in Europe provide grim reading. The world’s largest tyre manufacturer’s figures suggest that tyre care and awareness has continued to deteriorate in the region. The most alarming change from data gathered in the same way in 2011 is an increase of 25 per cent in the number of tyres either underinflated or beyond the legal limit. While the European Union has in place many strategies for making roads safer – it is a specified goal of the EU tyre label – and organisations such as TyreSafe in the UK grow both membership and influence, Bridgestone’s data suggests that the most basic tyre checks remain beyond too many of the continent’s drivers.
Bridgestone says that 78 per cent of vehicles surveyed were found to have underinflated tyres while over a quarter had tyres that were worn beyond the legal limit. In 2011, Bridgestone found 63 and 20 per cent of motorists respectively were found to have underinflated and illegally worn tyres. The company speculates that the increase’s most likely causes are the economic crisis, rising fuel prices and declining purchasing power; the message that correct tyre maintenance in the long term increases the cost effectiveness of tyres in addition to their safety appears not to affect drivers’ views on short term maintenance or replacement costs.
Bridgestone estimates that poor tyre maintenance accounts for billions of litres of wasted fuel and increased CO2 output of 9.2 million tonnes each year. Underinflated tyres not only wear out faster but are also responsible for an estimated 3.9 billion litres of wasted fuel per year, the manufacturer concludes.
Jake Rønsholt, general manager Corporate & Brand Communications, Bridgestone Europe explains: “Driving on underinflated tyres is not only dangerous. It is an enormous waste of fuel and the cause of carbon emissions that could easily be avoided by simple, regular checks. Ideally, drivers should check their tyre pressure once a month. And while doing so, it is also a good idea to check tread depth and look out for damage or irregular wear at the same time.
“Some people tend to forget that driving on underinflated and/or worn tyres may considerably impact handling and braking… Many see tyres as only black and round, a necessity purchase, but we must always bear in mind that they are the only point of contact with the road, and the size of 4 postcards!”
Bridgestone says it plans to continue carrying out free tyre safety checks across Europe in 2013 in order to raise awareness on the importance of tyre maintenance and its impact on safety, the environment and driving costs. 2012’s figures represent the eighth consecutive edition of Bridgestone’s data collected in this way.