Poor tyre maintenance is increasing young driver risk

12.00 | 6 November 2013 | | 6 comments

Young drivers are at a greater risk of being involved in a tyre related incident through a lack of regular tyre maintenance, according to a new survey commissioned by TyreSafe and the insurer ingenie.

The survey revealed that more than a third of drivers aged 18-25 had never checked their tread depth, and two out of three had not checked their tread within the last month – the maximum period between checks as recommended by TyreSafe.

With regard to  tyre pressures, a quarter of respondents confessed they had never checked their tyre pressures, with three out of five admitting they had not checked them in the last month.

The research also highlighted the need to better educate young drivers about the importance of proper tyre care, as almost half admitted they’d never been shown how to check the condition of their tyres.

More than half of those questioned also did not know that it was the driver’s responsibility to ensure that the car’s tyres are safe and legal and 85% were unaware that the maximum fine for driving on an illegal tyre was £2,500; and more than a third were unaware that a driver can receive three penalty points for driving on an illegal tyre.

To help counter this, TyreSafe and ingenie have produced a video starring Tyger Drew-Honey from the BBC’s Outnumbered series, who has recently passed his driving test. During the film two young drivers are quizzed on their tyre knowledge and shown the consequences of poor tyre care.

Stuart Jackson, chairman of TyreSafe, said: “Regular basic tyre maintenance is a critical element of being a safe and responsible driver, yet these findings suggest that this message is being lost on young drivers.

“We saw an increase last year in the number of tyre related road casualties and if we fail to take immediate action in educating young drivers about the need to look after their tyres properly, we can only expect to see this figure rise further.”

Richard King, founder and CEO of ingenie, said: “With almost half of young drivers never having been shown how to check the condition of their tyres, it’s clear that we need to do more to ensure they have the right knowledge in this area.”

Click here to read the full TyreSafe news release.


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    How would an investigating officer know for sure whether a defective tyre (apart from one with a gaping hole in the sidewall perhaps) was a factor in a crash, especially when more obvious factors are present? A tyre may be noted to be defective on a crashed vehicle, but that would not be a reason to automatically enter it as a contributory factor surely?

    Hugh Jones, Cheshire
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    Stats19 code Contributory Factor 201 refers to “Tyres illegal, defective or under-inflated”. What I find very surprising is how few accidents are reported as having been caused by it, especially (as Honest John of the Telegraph often points out) road humps cause such damage to the hidden inside walls of tyres. The 2005 report shows 2% (K, 1% SI, 1% slight.

    Note also that 3 penalty points apply to each tyre, so 12 points and a ban can result from one roadside check. The DfT/ DVLA should include a Tyre Safety leaflet with every road tax disc.

    Idris Francis Fight Back with Facts Petersfield
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    What amazes me is the lack of indication that poor tyre maintenance or low tyre pressures has not been identified as a causation or a contributory factor on stats 19. Are the police aware of this or not? If not then they may wrongly put the incident down to loss of control by poor judgement.

    bob craven Lancs
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    Although the condition of tyres is important, just as the condition of the braking system and other safety related components are, I wouldn’t like young drivers (or any drivers for that matter) to think that it is the only, or most cucial element of keeping themselves safe. It’s in their hands (literally) – their behaviour behind the weeel is going to play a far more important role than not checking their tyres. Poor tyres may play a part if for example, trying to bring the car to a rapid stop, or trying to negotiate a bend too fast. Solution? Don’t put yourselves in that position in the first place.

    Hugh Jones, Cheshire
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    It is not just young people. Bedfordshire and Luton Casualty Reduction Partnership have just run a vehicle check campaign. This was carried out in two parts. Three voluntary vehicle check sessions were ran with 145 drivers’ vehicles being checked. 24.1% of these had at least one damaged or perished tyre, 31.0% had incorrect pressures in at least one tyre and 5.5% illegal tyre treads. Drivers of all ages attended.

    Then we ran three Police stop checks where 148 drivers’ vehicles were checked with 124 tyre defects found including: damaged/perished tyres, incorrect pressures, illegal tyre tread and illegal clearance around the tyres. Only 17 vehicles had no defect of any kind.

    Central Bedfordshire and Luton Borough Council also train young people at the MORE Drive and MORE 16 young driver training courses to check their vehicles which includes tyre treads and pressures. So far 500 young people have been trained.

    Christine Davy, Luton Borough Council
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    Half of them admitted they had never been shown how to check their tyres? What on earth is happening with driver training? I presume that all these youngsters have passed their tests, so what sort of test is it that fails to ensure that drivers check one of the most important parts of the car?

    Duncan MacKillop, Stratford on Avon
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