More than 10million UK motorists could be driving a vehicle with an illegal and dangerous tyre, according to the shocking results of the most comprehensive survey of its kind.
Conducted by TyreSafe, in partnership with Highways England, the survey revealed more than 27% of tyres were already illegal when they were replaced.
That could equate to more than a quarter of the 37million cars and light commercial vehicles (LCVs) on the UK’s roads being driven with a tyre that could cost its driver a £2,500 fine and three penalty points, an MoT failure or worse.
The survey’s findings confirm fears among road safety experts of a poor attitude towards tyre safety among UK motorists.
This is increasing the risk of drivers being involved in an incident.
A vehicle’s tyres are the only safety critical component in contact with the road.
If unroadworthy, the effectiveness of the vehicle’s braking and steering systems are significantly compromised.
In particular, tread depth has a decisive impact on the distance a vehicle takes to stop in the wet, and must be of at least the minimum legal limit (1.6mm).
Previous studies have proven that the braking distance of a vehicle with tread of 1.6mm is nearly 12m further than a vehicle with new tyres when braking in the wet from 50mph.
The tread depth survey results are a concern.
Figures from the Department for Transport show that dangerous tyres are the largest single contributory factor in accidents resulting in casualties of any vehicle defect, including brakes.
If the number of casualties from tyre-related incidents is to be reduced on our roads, the UK’s motorists need to change their attitude to this primary safety feature and carry out regular checks to ensure their vehicle’s tyres are roadworthy.
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