Research by the Irish Tyre Industry Association (ITIA) shows motorists are leaving it too late in replacing their tyres. In support of this safety initiative, An Garda Síochána will be out checking tyres for tread depth and general condition as part of Road Safety Week, which starts October 6.
The ITIA survey of over 600 tyres on cars which came into tyre outlets last month showed 27% of them to be below the legal tread depth limit of 1.6mm, with almost 1 in 5 having only 1mm of tread or less. The ITIA recommends that motorists change their tyres when the tread depth reaches 3mm, but only 40% of tyres assessed were found to be compliant with this recommendation.
As part of the RSA’s Road Safety Week, ITIA member outlets nationwide are offering free tyre checks to motorists who drop in this week. No appointment is necessary. Thursday, 9 October, has been deemed Tyre Safety Day, when Gardai will specifically concentrate their roadside checks on tyres.
“We are pleased with the increased attention being placed on tyres in this year’s Road Safety Week, as our latest research findings certainly testify to the need for more awareness,” comments Kevin Farrell, President of the ITIA. “A majority of motorists are failing to replace their tyres at the point where their stopping performance dips significantly, and one quarter are even letting their tyres wear beyond the1.6mm legal limit.”
Industry research indicates that a car on tyres just below the 1.6mm limit can take twice as long to stop as a car on new tyres.
“Worn tyres can cost lives. A simple 5-minute visit to a local ITIA tyre outlet this week is all it takes to ensure your tyres are fit for purpose in advance of the Garda drive,” continues Farrell.
Commenting on tyre safety Mr. Michael Rowland, Director Road Safety, Driver Education and Research said, “Tyres should be checked regularly for condition both in the tread and sidewall areas. There should be no cuts or gouges in the sidewall particularly where the carcass is exposed. Small stones should be removed from the tread as they can work their way through the rubber and cause a puncture. There should be no bulges in the sidewall as this indicates a weakness in the carcass.”
Advising on the use of part worn tyres Mr. Rowland added, “There has been a noticeable increase recently in the number of outlets offering “part worn” tyres for sale. Use of these tyres can be risky as there is no history of how they have been used. There may be damage internally from hitting road hazards or kerbs. They may have been underinflated or overloaded causing heat build-up damage in the tyre. In addition, part-worn tyres may actually cost more per millimetre than a new tyre and so the “good deal” may not be as good as anticipated.”
Assistant Commissioner John Twomey, head of the Traffic Corps said:-
“Although the minimum legal tyre tread depth is 1.6mm for cars and 1mm for motorcycles, the simple fact is the more tread depth you have, the more grip you have on the road. Considering we are moving into wetter weather, this fact is all the more relevant. We appeal to all drivers and riders to specifically check the tread depth and condition of their tyres, and if necessary arrange for them to be changed. A simple visual check will identify an excessively worn or damaged tyre, so there is absolutely no excuse for driving with this obvious defect. Remember, Road Safety starts with you.”
5th October, 2014