Tyre prosecutions on the rise

12.23 | 20 September 2010 | | 4 comments

The number of drivers successfully prosecuted by courts in England and Wales for driving on defective tyres has risen by 14% in 2008, according to Ministry of Justice figures.

Current UK law requires car drivers to have a minimum of 1.6mm tread depth across the central three quarters of the tyre, around its entire circumference.

Stuart Jackson, chairman of TyreSafe, a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to raising awareness of the importance of the dangers of defective and worn tyres , says: “Many drivers have the misconception that the police are too busy or too stretched to stop and prosecute them for driving on illegal tyres.

“These latest figures show this is clearly not the case and that the court system still considers driving on illegal tyres a very serious offence.

“We fully support the police’s efforts in clamping down on this dangerous behaviour and encourage all drivers to take a few minutes every month to check their tyre’s tread depth, pressure and general condition.

“Not only could the checks save you from a court prosecution, it could help save your life.”

Click here to view the Ministry of Justice statistics, or click here to visit the TyreSafe website.


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    Tyres are crucially important to road safety. The levels of non-compliance to the current rules are very concerning but so too are the number of inferior quality legal tyres on the road which often perform very poorly in wet weather. I look forward to the day when the minimum quality standards for tyres used in the UK are raised. Hopefully tyre wet weather braking & handling performance will also become mandatory information at all tyre point of sale outlet.

    Pat, Wales
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    I sent an email to TyreSafe. I asked TyreSafe if they had made a formal complaint to the BBC following the Crass and unforgivable, irresponsible comments made by the BBC presenters concerning Illegal Tyres. The opening comments were ‘Cash Strapped Motorists can’t afford to replace worn tyres’. The presenters were discussing who actually checks their tyres on their vehicles, and joked that they did not check their tyres.

    They had motorists interviewed by a field journalist. One woman said that she ‘would buy a washing machine before buying tyres’. This shows her blatant disregard for other road users and the law, and her sheer complacent attitude that she will not be prosecuted.

    Then Alex Deacon, the weather presenter, said that he ‘kicked his tyres’. I wonder would Alex Deacon tell the bereaved parents of an innocent child he slaughtered on the road because he had faulty illegal tyres, that he had kicked his worn illegal tyres and they seemed ok.

    There would be an outcry, corporate manslaughter or murder charges, if hotel owners said that they kicked their heating equipment, which had caused deaths due to carbon monoxide. Or that they needed other things before worrying bout having the heat equipment serviced. I cannot believe that anyone involved in road safety would not make a formal complaint.

    It seems the BBC does and says just as it likes when referring to road deaths, injuries and criminal motoring offences, instead of making it clear that defective tyres are illegal.

    If the BBC is allowed to make jokes of a crime which could cause death or injury to unsuspecting innocent road users, they are actually encouraging motorists to carry on driving illegal tyres.

    I believe that motorists know that there are not enough roads police, so the risk of getting caught committing criminal motoring offences such as illegal tyres, using a mobile, reading, speeding, not observing, junctions, school crossings, zebra crossings, traffic lights and (no insurance, which should be an automatic prison sentence) is worth taking.

    Yours sincerely

    B. W. – Norfolk

    B Wall Norfolk
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    Many RSO’s do work very hard locally to influence roads policing but to little or no avail – unless they’re willing to pay for it. Some forces just don’t see roads policing as a priority and focus on other issues such as anti-social behaviour or burglary where they are struggling to meet targets. With cuts in force numbers on the cards officers are likely to be spread even thinner too. And with vehilce owners looking to cut costs too it’s no surprise we’re seeing an increase in vehicle defects. This is a time when we need more officers on the roads, not fewer.

    Dave, Leeds
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    Let me pick up on the salient points. Tyre prosecutions are up 14% despite roads policing being regarded as low key. That suggests that those officers who are in Traffic Division are trying their best. Proposals are being made to alter the MOT requirements. The first test coming after the vehicle is four years old then bi-annually. Is this proposal prudent in the light of the latest figures for defective tyre convictions? Consider the comment from Stuart Jackson, Chairman of TyreSafe, many drivers believe they will not get caught. The same applies to mobile phone use, no insurance, driving whilst disqualified, driving a stolen vehicle, carrying stolen property or drugs, taking an explosive to a target. Robust roads policing is the answer, look at the mission statement of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police(RCMP). Is anyone in ACPO or the Home Office listening? Is Road Safety GB doing enough to draw it to their attention? Should we have a Roads Policing Portfolio holder who campaigns for better roads policing, considered by many to be the major contributor to road safety?

    Roy Buchanan, Sutton
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

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