Police get a grip on worn tyres

12.00 | 21 December 2012 | | 3 comments

A campaign to alert drivers to the dangers posed by worn tyres went unheeded by some drivers in Wales.

Road Safety Wales used a variety of media during National Tyre Month (October) to warn drivers of the perils of driving with worn tyres.

Despite this, during a week-long enforcement campaign in November (12-18 Nov) police forces in Wales issued fixed penalty notices to 56 drivers and gave advice about tyres to a further 24 drivers.

In addition, 92 drivers were issued with an endorsable fixed penalty notice, which means the driver will receive three points on their licence for each defective tyre. In total, police stopped and checked 1,016 vehicles for worn tyres. Three drivers were prohibited from proceeding with their journey, and two drivers were summoned to appear in court due to the severe condition of their tyres.

As well as detecting illegal and unsafe tyres, police officers also found an array other defects and offences during the operation. This led to to them issuing 56 vehicle defect rectification notices and 18 document offences relating to insurance, MOT and road tax.

Susan Storch, chair of Road Safety Wales, said: “Every day on Welsh roads people are taking chances with their lives by driving defective vehicles. During the winter period it is more important than ever that vehicles are roadworthy, legal and safe.

“Don’t forget that your tyres are the only parts of the car which are in contact with the road. Safety in acceleration, braking steering and cornering all depend on a relatively small area of road contact. Correct tyre maintenance and care is critical for your safety, no matter what type of vehicle you are driving.”

For more information contact Michelle Harrington on 02920 250 600.


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    I’m an MOT tester. I get people in all the time when police pull them over and say there tyres are not legal when they are legal. Most police officers do not know what the limit is on tyres. 1/3 of the tyre from the centre outwords, 1.6 mm the edges can have no tread as long as there’s rubber. How many people get points when the tyre is legal?

    Paul mark frome
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    It’s hardly a surprise drivers don’t check their vehicles. Manufacturers have done all they can to deter people from opening the bonnet (there’s only a plastic box under there anyway) and Halfords are running national TV advertising to persuade people that even basic jobs are difficult and best left to professionals. If changing a bulb requires removing half the front wing people aren’t going to bother…

    Dave, Leeds
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    It’s not just wear, but also age, irrespective of wear. People have been killed by “new” tyres bursting because they were old stock – in one case the owner of a MGB who had bought them on the web without realising they were old.

    I have experienced problematical handling on several cars until old tyres with ample tread left, and eliminated the problem by replacing them.

    For tyres manufactured after 2000, there are usually four digits after the DOT code which the first two specify the week of manufacture, and the second two specify the year. For example: 5007 = 50th week of 2007.

    Before 2000, there were only 3 digits, again the first two would specify the week, and the third the year. However, this is not a hard and fast rule, as some tyre manufacturers use only three digits still, or * or – or other notations.

    Most tyre companies advise 7 to 10 years max, less if much exposed to UV light or heat – which means most cars that are not garaged.

    Also, replace immediately any tyres whose sidewalls are starting to craze.

    I have no commercial interests in tyre sales, this is about safety.

    Idris Francis
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