A FOI request has shown that, on average, the emergency services change their vehicle tyres when the tread depth reaches 2.74mm, more than a millimetre above the legal requirement.
The freedom of information (FOI) request, by the tyre retailer Kwik Fit, was made to every police force, fire and rescue service and ambulance service in the UK – with 95% responding.
The findings show that just 16% of the UK’s ‘blue-light’ services allow the tyres on their emergency vehicle fleets to go below 2.5mm of tread, despite them remaining legal to 1.6mm. 73% change their vehicles tyres at a tread depth of between 2.6mm and 3mm.
10% of emergency services go further, changing vehicle tyres between 3.1 and 3.5mm (6%) and 3.6 and 4mm (4%).
Kwik Fit also found that two thirds (67%) have a formal policy in place, while the remainder (33%) have an ‘accepted practice’.
Kwik Fit has described the findings as ‘very encouraging’ and is calling on motorists to ‘follow the blue light’, pointing to data which it says shows that 12% of drivers ‘never check their tyre tread depth’.
Roger Griggs, Kwik Fit communications director, said: “The emergency services have the highest standards when it comes to safety and this is something all motorists should be trying to replicate.
“Checking tyre tread depth is often forgotten by motorists, yet it has a vital role in safety as our tyres are the only thing in contact with the road.
“Our research has shown that the emergency services uniformly change their vehicle tyres at a much earlier point than the legal limit as a tyre’s performance starts to deteriorate well before it becomes illegal.
“When on a ‘blue light’ call our emergency services cannot compromise on safety, but we don’t think any other motorist should either, whether it’s a motorway run or just a trip to the shops.”
Photo: Kwik Fit via Twitter