Van drivers are once again being urged to check their tyres routinely before they set off to work each morning, as figures released by the Ministry of Justice show thousands of drivers are being fined every year for driving with illegal tyres.
The figures released by the Ministry of Justice show that in 2011, 9,639 motorists were successfully prosecuted for driving with dangerous or defective tyres. It is a well known fact that tyre faults are one of the major causes of road accidents in the UK and breakdown and recovery services report tyre malfunctions as the leading reason for call outs.
Stuart Jackson, chairman of the Tyresafe organisation, said “Tyres play a vital role in road safety so these latest figures are very worrying. Not only is there still a high level of ignorance about tyre care, but perhaps even more alarming is that many motorists continue to drive on tyres that they know are illegal or dangerous. But that is like playing Russian roulette as the tyre is the only part of the car in contact with the road and, therefore, makes them vitally important to how a car performs.”
The current UK law requires drivers to have a minimum of 1.6mm tread depth across the central three quarters of the tyre, and around its entire circumference. Experts say that tyres should not only comply with tread depth requirements but should also always be kept at the right tyre pressure. Doing this enables drivers to be safe and to save money. A tyre will perform to its maximum capabilities when it has good tread and the correct amount of pressure. This usually means a driver will get more miles to the gallon out of his fuel and will save on commercial vehicle insurance because he is less likely to have an accident.
If the safety and economics are not enough to persuade drivers that they should look after their tyres, perhaps the fact that a £2,500 fine and a three point penalty for each defective tyre found on a vehicle, will.