Safety not a priority, survey reveals

10.17 | 23 August 2011 | | 5 comments

One in five motorists never check their brake fluid, one in six never check their brake lights, and one in nine do not check their tyre tread, a survey carried out by Manheim Auctions reveals.

The survey also suggests that drivers don’t understand the risks associated with ignoring basic safety checks: one in five could not explain why brake fluid needs to be checked and almost 85% do not know the legal tyre tread depth.

Craig Mailey, marketing director at Manheim Auctions, said: “Ignoring the most basic safety checks is not only dangerous, it’s illegal. The police will, quite rightly, stop and fine cars with illegal tyre tread or broken brake lights. Not only will this be costly but the points on your licence will impact on your car insurance.

“We’d recommend performing basic safety checks on your vehicle regularly, and especially before long journeys. If you know what you are doing, it takes minutes to check tyre pressure and tread, and if your lights are working properly.”

For more information contact Andrew Andersz on 01865 343100.


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    Sorry Honor, no it isn’t. The operations to which you refer are window dressings to look as if agencies are active. They occur infrequently and have to be planned and approved by a tasking team supervisor having taking into consideration the policy and financial implications of the operation. This can takes weeks. I am referring to the every day enforcement carried out by highly trained traffic patrol officers who just went out and did it. No bureaucracy, no cow’s manure, just plain, simple and effective roads policing. I remember it well.

    Roy Buchanan, Epsom
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    Roy and Bob, Good observations.

    I normally only comment on evidence but I’ll try a departure into opinion. I remember as a young driver being very careful to check lights etc regularly because I had a theory that Police tended only to stop a driver if they found more than 1 reason to do so. Therefore if a light was out, any other error such as failing to indicate might involve a “chat”. I don’t recall seeing many vehicles with faulty lights until about 10 years ago when I started to notice more and more.

    When car-sharing to work recently, my collegue commented on this and we started pointing out vehicles with faulty side or brake lights and there was hardly a point in time on a 25 minute journey where there were no cars without faulty lights. Although it’s not scientific, I would not bet against Bob’s estimate of a 20% failure rate if a survey were to conduct a count.

    And Roy, our opinion was that the reason for all these faulty vehicles was a decline in roads policing. People are just not getting stopped for a “chat” anymore even where no prosecution is considered or persued. And if something as easy to spot and fix as side/brake lights are broken, what does that suggest about the condition of the rest of the vehicle?

    Is it possible to research this? Are vehicle faults rising as a cause of accidents, would investigations pick up these problems?

    The “chat” with an officer by the roadside may have been the most common contact between public and Police and, when there was rarely a prosecution, this led to a good relationship with a feeling that those who were prosecuted, must have done something fairly serious.

    Now most people I know have far less contact with actual officers yet many have criminal convictions!

    Dave Finney – Slough
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    As a daily road user, mostly on a motorcycle, I can say without fear of contradiction that one in five vehicles has at least one brake light out.

    It’s so simple to check lights. what chance lifting the bonnet under there?

    Bob Craven, Lancs
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    Isn’t that what VOSA now do? Often on joint operations with roads policing officers?

    Honor Byford, North Yorkshire
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    There was a time when police officers in Traffic Division had to be skilled in vehicle technology in order to enforce the Construction and Use Regulations. I can recall the times I found tyres worn down to the canvas, hydraulic fluid pouring out of slave cylinders and steering with noticeable free-play. Only officers trained to advance level could examine HGVs and PSVs with air brakes such was their complexity. Are these officers not available today or to put it another way – as usual from me – where is the enforcement of yesteryear?

    Here is a story. I owned a motorcycle with suspension that had air-assisted damping. The handbook said this pressure had to be checked once a week to avoid possible adverse handling. I spoke to another owner of the same model and asked him how often he checked this pressure. He admitted he leaves it to the dealer when the bike goes in for a service – once a year!

    Roy Buchanan, Epsom
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