Motorists are continuing to put their own lives, as well as those of passengers and other road users at risk by ignoring the dangers of incorrect tyre inflation. The warning has been issued by TyreSafe, the UK’s leading tyre safety organisation, as it launches October’s Tyre Safety Month. The latest statistics released by the Department for Transport show that illegal, defective or under-inflated tyres were a contributory factor in the death of 43 motorists in 2007, and played a part in a further 984 accidents. New research conducted by TyreSafe has highlighted the scale of the problem, with more than half of motorists surveyed admitting that they had not checked their tyre pressure in the last month, the maximum period recommended by TyreSafe between pressure checks.
“In 2007, nearly one life was lost every single week of the year as a result of a road traffic accident where illegal, defective or under-inflated tyres were a contributory factor,” explains Rob Beddis, chairman, TyreSafe. “This tragic loss of life is unnecessary and could have been avoided by carrying out simple, regular checks on tyre pressure, tread depth and tyre condition.
Under-inflated tyres can cause dramatic changes in the way a vehicle handles and corners, resulting in surprise and confusion for drivers which often results in accidents. Additionally, tyres wear out more quickly and fuel consumption increases adding further burden to motorists already struggling with high fuel prices. By raising awareness of these issues throughout Tyre Safety Month, we hope motorists will heed our warnings so we can minimise future accidents and avoid further loss of life.”
TyreSafe’s research showed that company car drivers are the most neglectful when it comes to checking tyre pressure, with only 31 percent of respondents having checked their pressures within the last month, compared to 50 percent of private motorists. Women fall way behind men in terms of taking responsibility for checking their pressures. 86 percent of male respondents claim to check their own pressures compared to just 38 percent of women. With longer service intervals meaning that many cars now visit a garage just once a year, a worrying 11 percent admitted that they left it to their garage to check their tyre pressure.
Despite the valuable work carried out by TyreSafe, figures from VOSA suggest the problem is getting worse. In 2006/07, 11 percent or 860,000 MOT failures were a result of tyre defects. In 2007/08, this figure rose to 14 percent or 1.1 million failures, making it the fourth most common reason for MOT failure.
“Our findings illustrate why nearly three accidents occur every day on the UK’s roads where tyres are a contributory factor,” adds Beddis. “Checking tyre pressures is a simple maintenance activity that is free and takes only a few minutes to complete. If motorists are unsure how to check their pressures or do not know where to find the manufacturer’s recommended pressure they should visit one of the many tyre fitting centres across the UK that will be offering free tyre checks throughout Tyre Safety Month.”
For further information on general tyre safety or Tyre Safety Month visit www.tyresafe.org
TyreSafe is a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to raising awareness of the importance of the dangers of defective and worn tyres. TyreSafe has campaigned consistently to underline the importance of tyre safety for more than 15 years and was rewarded with the Prince Michael International Road Safety Award in 2001.
TyreSafe receives positive support from many major tyre manufacturers and retailers, and has been credited with reducing the number of defective tyres in the UK over the past decade from 18% to 12%.
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