Court convictions in England and Wales for driving on defective tyres are at a four year high, according to figures obtained from the Ministry of Justice and the Home Office. In 2010, 10,475 motorists were successfully convicted – almost 1,000 more than the previous year. The figures highlight the scale of the problem of illegal tyres in the UK, especially as they do not take into account tyre related matters dealt with by the police at the roadside.
Other figures released recently by the Department for Transport (DfT) reveal that illegal, defective and under-inflated tyres were responsible for more than 1,210 road casualties in Great Britain during 2010.
“These latest figures are very worrying indeed and show that the courts take a very dim view of people driving on defective tyres.
“We are aware that with recent financial pressures, many motorists are delaying the purchase of new tyres, however, as these latest figures show, some are waiting far too long and are risking their own safety and that of other roads users by going beyond the legal minimum standards.
“It’s also shows that the authorities are taking a robust stance against motorists prepared to flout the law, which goes to show that if you drive on illegal tyres, then be prepared to pay the price,” said Stuart Jackson, chairman of TyreSafe, a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to raising awareness about the importance of correct tyre maintenance and the dangers of defective and worn tyres.
Robb Gravett of Ultimate Car Control, a specialist fleet driver training provider used by a number government organisations and some of the world’s best known companies adds “This increase in the number of successful prosecutions should be of great concern to businesses in view of their obligations regarding driver education under the recent Corporate Manslaughter legislation – especially those with drivers racking up large distances. Companies must have procedures in place to ensure that their drivers are aware of the risks involved in not checking their vehicle’s roadworthiness on a regular basis.”
“Checking the state of your tyres is a simple task that should be carried out weekly and anyone who isn’t sure their tyres are legal should seek immediate advice from a local garage or tyre fitter.
Current UK law requires drivers to have at least 1.6mm of tread across the central three quarters of the tread, around its entire circumference. Drivers found to be in breach of these regulations not only face an increased danger of being involved in an accident, but also risk fines of up to £2,500 and three penalty points for each illegal tyre.
TyreSafe has launched a range of online resources (www.tyresafe.org) showing drivers how to make a number of critical tyre safety checks, such as tread depth, tyre pressure and condition. Free tyre safety checks are being offered by many garages and tyre retailers as part of tyre safety month this October. By visiting a participating garage or tyre dealer, drivers will receive a thorough visual tyre inspection to ensure that not only are they safe to use, but legal as well so they will not fall foul of the law.