Thousands of motorists in the UK are potentially putting themselves, their passengers and other road users at risk by driving with dangerously low tyre treads, according to the AA.
More than a third (37.2%) of drivers who called out the AA to fit new tyres were either driving with tread depths below the 1.6mm legal minimum (9.6%) – or were on the limit (27.6%).
The AA analysed thousands of call outs in 2016 to its team of specialist tyre fitters – providing a snapshot of the state of tyres on Britain’s roads.
The findings support new data from TyreSafe and Highways England* showing that of 340,000 tyres measured across the industry, 66% were below 2mm while 27% were illegal suggesting that up to 1 in 4 cars on Britain’s roads have at least one tyre that is illegal or barely legal.
Driving a vehicle with an illegal or defective tyre could lead to a police officer issuing a fixed penalty notice (£100 and three penalty points). In serious cases an officer may report the case for prosecution.
A court can impose a fine of up to £2,500 plus three penalty points for each defective tyre – so in an extreme case a driver could be facing a £10,000 fine with 12 points which may lead to disqualification.
The law says that vehicle tyres must have at least 1.6mm of tread throughout a continuous band in the centre three quarters of the tyre and around the entire circumference.
The AA and TyreSafe advise that new tyres should be replaced when tread depth reaches 2mm (3mm in winter). Tyre pressures should be checked at least fortnightly, as well the general condition of the tyres, looking for cuts or bulges.
Mark Shankland, co-founder of the AA’s mobile tyre fitting service, AA Tyres, said, “Our findings point to an alarming lack of concern about tyres by British drivers.
“With summer upon us, now is a good time to should check your tyres before heading off on a long trip and replace them if there is 2mm of tread or less remaining.