Almost 1 in 10 vehicles (9 per cent) examined by ATS Euromaster during an unscheduled tyre safety inspection at the Fleet Van Conference in the West Midlands last Thursday (30 September) were flagged with urgent ‘red’ tyre warnings.
These are classified as vehicles with one or more tyres with a tread depth at or below the legal limit of 1.6mm, or with a serious defect requiring immediate attention. Drivers of these vehicles were risking a fine of up to £2,500 and three penalty points per illegal tyre.
A further 21 per cent of vehicles received amber alerts, indicating one or more tyres with a tread depth between 1.7 and 2mm (close to the legal replacement limit) or with a defect requiring attention. Whilst the tread depth is still legal at 1.7 - 2mm, new tyres are often recommended, particularly in the build-up to winter, when weather conditions worsen and good tyre condition is most critical.
Kevin Steward, Head of Business Development at ATS Euromaster, said: “The sheer number of red warnings we recorded is a clear reminder that tyres need experts and highlights the effectiveness of our professional tyre safety checks.
“We carry out identical inspections for fleet customers on a routine basis. They are an excellent way for companies to reinforce their duty of care responsibilities as they warn drivers of dangerous and illegal tyres, and help to get them off our roads quickly.”
As the only part of a vehicle in direct contact with the road’s surface, ensuring tyres are regularly checked and in good condition is essential. In 2009 there were 17 incidents* on British roads where illegal, defective or under-inflated tyres were a contributory factor to a fatal incident, 165 cases of serious accidents and 678 slight accidents. This resulted in 20 fatalities, 196 people being seriously injured and 1,168 people being slightly injured.
ATS Euromaster’s inspection involved 178 vehicles** in a process mirroring the checks it performs for fleet customers, with traffic light-style cards left on windscreens advising drivers of any action which needs to be taken.
The company’s fleet inspections are typically organised where large numbers of vehicles are based, such as company car parks or regional depots. Drivers and fleet managers are then advised of any tyre replacements or servicing work required, which can either be carried out on-site with a mobile service van or at one of ATS Euromaster’s centres nationwide.
*Figures taken from the Department for Transport’s Road Casualties Great Britain 2009 Annual Report. Amongst its findings, the report highlights that illegal, defective or under-inflated tyres were a contributory factor in a combined total of 857 vehicle accidents in 2009. Of these, 703 involved cars and 38 involved light goods vehicles (classified as mainly vans - including car derived vans – not over 3.5 tonnes maximum permissible gvw). For further information visit: http://www.dft.gov.uk/pgr/statistics/datatablespublications/accidents/casualtiesgbar/rrcgb2009
** Whilst the inspection took place in the area of the car park used by Fleet Van delegates, it is recognised that some additional vehicles belonging to other National Motorcycle Museum visitors may have been included in the inspection and final results.
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