Six Million Motorists Under Pressure To Stop Risking Lives

Almost three quarters of UK motorists believe they are driving around safely, when millions are in fact dangerously unaware that they are putting their lives and the lives of their passengers at risk.

According to a new survey published today, a massive 74.7% of drivers believe they have never driven on a tyre which is even slightly unsafe, but only a third of those questioned know what the legal minimum tread depth of their tyres actually is.

While almost 60% of motorists claim to have checked their tyre pressures in the last month, only 35% were informed enough to know what they should be checking - leaving 65% driving on potentially dangerous tyres.

Bridgestone UK is behind the survey, as part of its campaign to offer every motorist in the country a free tyre health check and cut down on the 34,351 deaths and serious injuries on UK roads each year*. The company has joined forces with the RAC Foundation and FIA Foundation to promote the Think Before You Drive campaign for a third year, encouraging all drivers to check their tyres in an effort to reduce accidents.

“Since the campaign began, we have carried out tens of thousands of free tyre checks across the UK and Europe,” said John McNaught, managing director of Bridgestone UK. “Shockingly, we have found that only 6.5% of vehicles had all four tyres correctly inflated, with at least one in eight cars having at least one tyre significantly under-inflated.

*source: Department For Transport, Road casualties Great Britain report

“Tyres are the only contact our cars have with the road, making their condition vitally important,” he said. “Checking tyre pressures and tread depths regularly should be something we all do. At best, half of the people on the road are mistaken about the safety of their vehicles. At worst, many are dangerously unaware that they’re putting themselves and their passengers - which in many cases are children - in danger.”

The campaign has expanded in 2007 to incorporate the wider environmental issues affected by tyre conditions. John McNaught explained: “By running on under-inflated tyres, we have to replace more than 56 million tyres a year across Europe. More than 40% of us also consume more fuel by running on under-inflated tyres, amounting to more than 18 million tonnes of CO2 emissions.”

“These are quite shocking statistics, and we are trying to encourage everyone to have their tyres checked by a professional to ensure they do not become a statistic too,” said John.

The survey showed that women are the worst offenders, with only half having checked their tyre tread depth in the last month and more than 75% unaware that the safe legal tread depth limit is 1.6mm.

Teenagers also fared badly, with more than half of 17 to 24-year-olds unaware how much tread needs to be on their tyres to keep them safe.

The campaign’s third year launched today following the end of UN Global Road Safety Week. Bridgestone’s network of 170 First Stop dealerships already offers free tyre health checks to UK motorists, and this year the company has teamed up with Kwik-Fit and Kingsway, ensuring that almost anyone in the country should have access to a free inspection of their tyres as part of Think Before You Drive.

“While our primary concern is safety,” said John McNaught, “it’s also worth noting that for each tyre that is below the legal tread limit, a motorist can be fined £2,500 and have three penalty points added to their licence. So anyone who has four tyres below the limit could potentially be fined £10,000 and be banned from driving because of the 12 points.”

9 May 2007 Staff

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