TyreSafe: Motorists risking their lives by neglecting tyre pressures

The dramatic findings of an important road safety survey have pointed to a very worrying picture of UK motoring. The largest ever tyre pressure and tyre safety study undertaken in the UK, carried out by supporters of TyreSafe, the UK’s leading tyre safety organisation, revealed that almost three quarters of all cars on the country’s roads have tyres that are under-inflated.

The survey also showed that a quarter of these vehicles have at least one tyre that is either illegal, having a tread depth below 1.6mm, or badly worn. The impact on road collisions of these figures is reflected in recent government figures which indicated that under-inflated or defective tyres are responsible for more than a third of all road crashes resulting in injury.

Severely deflated tyres pose a serious safety risk says TyreSafe, as a vehicle’s handling can be adversely affected leading to a potential accident. Under-inflated tyres and bad driving practice are equally costing motorists over £2 billion in extra fuel, and release 5.5 million tons of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere – the equivalent of a quarter of the annual CO2 output of a coal burning power station.

These statistics come ahead of Tyre Safety Month, the first nationwide campaign of its kind to be promoted by the tyre industry in Britain, which starts today (1st October) and runs to the end of the month. Part of the initiative is designed to encourage motorists to visit participating tyre retailers, garages and franchise dealers displaying a TyreSafe poster, to take advantage of free tyre pressure and safety checks which extend throughout the four week period.

Furthermore, the campaign is being backed by motoring journalist and presenter of Channel 5 Fifth Gear motoring programme, Vicki Butler-Henderson: “Drivers are clearly not aware of the dangers of driving a car with severely under- inflated tyres. I have recently been testing cars with under-inflated and worn tyres and the combination is potentially deadly, said Vicki: ”In a skid you become a passenger and the consequences are possible serious injury to yourself, your passengers and other road users. I would encourage all drivers to regularly check their tyres for tread depth and pressure. Your life may depend upon it!”

The TyreSafe campaign has also received government support. Road Safety Minister Jim Fitzpatrick said: “Keeping tyres at the right pressure is not only vital for staying safe on the road, it also makes the car more environmentally friendly and helps save on fuel costs. Under inflated tyres create more resistance when your car is moving, which means that your engine has to work harder, so more fuel is used and more CO2 emissions are produced. I welcome this initiative and urge motorists to take advantage of the free tyre safety and pressure checks being offered by participating tyre retailers.”

According to TyreSafe, up to 90% of drivers do not know their correct tyre pressures. The tyre safety organisation has therefore introduced a facility on their website (www.tyresafe.org), with support from Experian, which enables motorists to log their registration number and receive the correct tyre pressures for the tyres on their car.

29 September 2007 Staff

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