Figures obtained from the Ministry of Justice reveal that on average, more than 170 motorists were convicted every week in 2012 for driving on defective tyres at magistrates’ courts in England and Wales.
In total, some 10,228 car owners found themselves in court simply because their tyres were in a dangerous or defective condition, with 8,919 successful prosecutions taking place.
“These latest figures are incredibly worrying and reflect the ongoing challenge that we have in terms of raising the awareness about the importance of driving on safe and legal tyres,” said Stuart Jackson, chairman, TyreSafe.
“Regular checks which only take a few minutes to complete should be made at least once a month, yet it’s clear from these latest figures that many drivers are simply not taking these precautions, risking not only prosecution through the courts but more importantly, their safety on the road.”
One of the most essential items for drivers to check, particularly as we approach the wettest months of the year, is that their tyres meet the minimum legal tread depth.
Car tyres must have a minimum of 1.6mm of tread depth across the central three-quarters of the tyre, around its entire circumference.
TyreSafe has developed a tyre tread depth check to help drivers see if their tyres are legal using a 20p coin.
Drivers simply need to insert the coin into the main grooves of the tyre. If the outer band of the 20p is visible when inserted, then the tyre may not have sufficient depth and should be checked by a qualified specialist.
Other areas for drivers to inspect include the condition of the tyre, paying particular attention to any cuts, lumps of bulges in the tyre, and ensuring the tyres are inflated to the correct pressure.
Of course, any driver unsure of how to carry out any of these checks can call into one of the thousands of tyre dealers and garages offering free tyre safety checks as part of this October’s tyre safety month. The details and location of participating outlets can be found by visiting the dealer locator on www.tyresafe.org.
“October’s tyre safety month is a great opportunity for every driver across the UK to ensure that not only are their tyres safe, but they are also legal, therefore avoiding any potential court appearance,” concluded Jackson.