[dropcap]N[/dropcap]ew analysis has revealed that defective tyres account for a growing proportion of the total penalty points received by drivers for the poor condition of their cars.
A UK-based automotive servicing and repair company, Kwik Fit, collated the data from British police forces regarding the issuing of penalty points for vehicle defects over the past three years.
Analysis of the information showed that in 2015, 50% of the defective vehicle offences for which drivers received penalty points were due to issues with their tyres – up from 40% in 20131.
The overwhelming majority of tyre offences were having insufficient tread, with 65% of cases categorised as being below the legal minimum of 1.6mm. A further 2% were stated as being below 1mm, and even more worryingly were the 26% who were found by the Kwik Fit analysis to have tyres with the ply or cord exposed. 3% of the cases were for tyres which were under or over inflated, while 2% of offences were for having a tyre with a lump, bulge or tear.
This analysis comes after a UK wide study by Tyresafe, in conjunction with Highways England, found that more than a quarter (27%) of tyres being replaced were already illegal with tread under 1.6mm at the point of replacement. Tyresafe, an organisation focused on raising awareness of tyre safety, estimates that 10 million vehicles could be driving on illegal tyres in 2016.
Roger Griggs, communications director at Kwik Fit, says: “These figures reveal that some drivers on British roads are taking serious risks with both their own safety and the safety of other road users. We would encourage drivers to pay much closer attention to the condition of their tyres – after all they are the only things keeping their car connected to the road.
“There is absolutely no excuse for a tyre being worn down so far that its ply or cord is exposed – it will have gone past the legal minimum way before that point. If drivers are trying to save money on their motoring, then risking penalty points, a fine and higher insurance premiums by not replacing their tyres is not the best way to go about it.”
In some instances, the ply or cord will be exposed, because the tyre has suffered uneven wear. Wheels can move out of alignment gradually over time or because of an impact such as hitting a pothole or bumping into a kerb.
Uneven wear can mean that a tyre which has a lot of tread across most of its width is well below the legal limit in one strip all the way round the tyre. Spotting and rectifying uneven wear early can lengthen a tyres life span and save drivers a lot of money, as well as making them safer on the road through better handling and grip.
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