10 Million UK vehicles being driven with illegal tyres

August 22, 2016 11:47

Over ¼ of all vehicles on UK roads being driven with dangerous tyres

A countrywide survey of 340,000 tyres reveal that a possible 10 million vehicles across the UK could be being driven with tyres deemed unfit for road use. The survey conducted by Tyresafe, in cooperation with Highways England, found that not only were there a substantial amount of vehicles on the roads with illegal tyres, but more than 27% of them were already illegal when they were replaced. These figures are particularly worrying as studies show that dangerous or unfit tyres are the largest single contributing factor in accidents resulting in casualties.

To paint a broader picture, this means that more than a quarter of the 37 million cars and LCV’s on UK roads are being driven with dangerous tyres, which could not only end up causing an accident but also cost the driver a hefty £2,500 fine and three penalty points on their license. These figures highlight the seemingly lax attitude people across the country have towards the condition of their tyres, stemming either from wilful ignorance or simply being unaware of the significant risks involved.

UK Illegal tyres infographic

Shift motorists attitude towards UK road safety

Stuart Jackson, Chairman of Tyre Safe comments on the aforementioned point, saying “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.

The concern comes not just from the number of illegal tyres at the point of replacement, but also the proportion which were below 2mm – those with just 0.4mm left (half the thickness of a bank card) before reaching the 1.6mm legal minimum. While a tyre is legal at this point, the amount of distance it can cover and remain within the law is difficult to predict and can only be verified by regular checks.”

When trying to identify exactly where these issues are most prevalent, you find that it is relatively balanced across the UK. The Survey of 340,000 tyres being replaced at 819 retail outlets revealed that Northern Ireland had the highest proportion of illegal tyres at the point of replacement at 36.5%, Wales following with 29.1%, Scotland on par with the UK average at 27.4% and England coming in at the lowest with 26.8%. This figures are growing each year and are projected to increase again by 2017.

Tyre tread check gauge

Carry out regular checks to reduce risk to yourself and other road users

Road users can make efforts to reduce risk to themselves or other road users by carrying out regular tyre checks, ensuring that air pressure and tread depth are at an adequate level. You can check your tyre tread depth by inserting a twenty pence piece into the tread using the outer rim as a reference point, if the rim is visible it means that your tyre is most likely below the 1.6mm legal limit and you should probably seek to get a replacement, or at the very least get a professional opinion.

As for the air pressure, you should always follow your vehicle manufacturer's recommendations, which can be found on a plaque in the glove compartment, the owner's manual or filler cap.

Increased awareness of the issue and its risks can change motorist behaviour

It is clear from this that there needs to be some drastic changes in attitude in order to combat this problem. This is achievable through increased awareness of both the risks and how widespread this issue truly is, as continuing to sweep it under the rug will only bolster the ever growing annual figures.