The true cost of part-worn tyres
Last updated at 17:29, Monday, 03 September 2012
The news comes on the back of results of a study into motorists using bald tyres. According to the study, more than a staggering 1.5 million motorists could be taking to the road with tyres that are not roadworthy. Even more worrying was the lack of motorists’ knowledge regarding tyre tread, with 87% of motorists unaware that driving with tyres of insufficient tread carried penalties. Further to this, two-thirds of the motorists surveyed admitted that they didn’t know what the legal tyre tread depth was.
The survey results are cause for concern, as driving without sufficient tread leaves road users at risk of serious accidents. Tyres need to provide sufficient grip on the roads, without which steering, braking and acceleration are all affected. As a result, the law requires that tread depth measures a minimum of 1.6mm across the central three-quarters of each tyre, below which the tyres are deemed unsafe.
As tyre tread has an important impact on road safety, driving without sufficient tread carries a hefty penalty. Drivers caught breaking this law face a fine of £2,500 and three penalty points on their licence as punishment. Besides this, many car insurance policies become invalidated for failure to leaving drivers uninsured in case of accidents, and heftier premiums in future.
As the double-dip recession continues to hit household budgets hard, and petrol prices remaining sky-high, many motorists struggling to meet the costs of maintaining their vehicles are cutting corners, failing to replace worn out tyres, and purchasing part-worn tyres as a cost-cutter instead of new. This false economy can cost drivers in the long run, in terms of insurance claims and premiums, and could even cost them their lives.
Rather than buying a new set of tyres, existing tyres can be retread to give them a new lease of life, provided that they are tested stringently and comply with the British Standard for retread tyres, BS AU 144e, and are marked as such. The dangers in purchasing part worn tyres is that it’s often difficult to know the tyre’s history, and they may well have been removed from a vehicle involved in a road accident. As a result, part-worn, or second hand tyres, are legally required to be stringently tested, meeting the British Standard, BS AU 159f, and should be marked as ‘PART WORN’, on each tyre.
Meanwhile, the German firm ProContour has unveiled a new tyre-tracking device, which Association of Chief Police Officers’ advisor on road policing enforcement technology, Trevor Hall, has seen in action on a recent visit to the country. The new technology uses a set of high-speed cameras and lasers to measure tyre tread as cars pass over the device, emitting a warning signal when insufficient tread is found. The new device could be used in the same way as police cameras to detect unsafe vehicles on British roads.
At a cost of £43,000 each, it remains to be seen whether the cash-strapped British police force can afford the new technology at this stage. But with road traffic deaths up 3% in 2011, the first increase since 2003, it could provide an invaluable way to help prevent road accidents in future.
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First published at 15:30, Friday, 24 August 2012
Published by http://www.eladvertiser.co.uk