According to TyreSafe, six million illegal tyres are in use on Britain’s roads today.

It was just one of the facts revealed at the annual TyreSafe briefing, which was held at the National Motorcycle Museum.

It was also stated that enforcement cannot change this situation – we must change drivers’ attitudes.

Who can

Stuart Lovatt, Chair of TyreSafe, opened the briefing.

He identified three types of driver when it comes to tyre safety:

  • those who ‘can & do’ who simply need reminding via safety campaigns;
  • those who ‘can & don’t’ who need a combination of education and the fear of enforcement;
  • and those who ‘can & won’t’ for whom enforcement is the only option.

With this in mind, and the millions of bad tyres in use, TyreSafe will be lobbying the DfT to develop a THINK! campaign relating to tyre safety.

It also wants to see an NDORS scheme on the same topic.

Breaking down

Further presentation took place as part of the briefing session.

Max Brown, head of technical services at National Highways, told delegates that tyre-related issues are the most common vehicle defect contributing to collisions on the strategic road network. Their research suggests that fleet operators are managing tread depth well, but tyre pressure seems to have been forgotten by many.

Anne Marie Penny, from the Driving for Better Business (DfBB) campaign, highlighted the increasing number of cars used for work.

According to official figures, the number of people registering ‘company cars’ and paying company car tax has increased by 40,000.

There are currently around 20m vehicles on UK roads being driven for work-related purposes.

A job to do

In 2019, some 35,300 reported casualties involved someone driving for work, at a cost of £32.6bn.

Anne Marie explained that DfBB is a free programme with resources for employers including a driving for work policy builder template.

Going forward, the aspiration for DfBB is to reach more than 20m drivers through their employers.

Dean Hatton, business manager for the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC), said, ‘We can’t enforce our way out of this problem; we need to change minds to save lives’.

This is true whether it is illegal tyres that are the issue or using a mobile phone behind the wheel, amongst many other dangerous and potentially illegal actions.

Changing attitudes to driving is critical, and that is down to effective and ongoing driver education.

Get a grip

Meanwhile, Jason Simms, TyreSafe manager, said more than six million tyres in the UK have illegal tyre tread.

Additionally, official statistics reveal two million MOT failures are due to tyre defects.

He added that this is a major contributor to the 152 KSIs each year and one in five breakdowns that are caused by tyre defects.

In 75% of fatal incidents, tyres were listed as a causal factor due to lack of maintenance.