Bridgestone tyres has urged the Government to back down over its proposals to change MOT testing laws on new cars, warning it could have disastrous consequences and make UK roads even ‘more dangerous than ever’.
Robin Shaw, managing director for Bridgestone tyres north region, expressed deep concern at Chancellor George Osborne’s plans in the recent Budget to extend the deadline for new cars and motorcycles to be MOT tested after four years instead of three.
He fears that the added 12 months will result in more cars running on illegal tyres below the legal minimum tread depth limit of 1.6mm across three quarters of the tyre and around the entire circumference.
When Highways England checked more than 100,000 tyres in England, Scotland and Wales, 27 per cent were below the 1.6mm limit and 39 per cent between 1.6mm and 2mm.
Shaw said: “We oppose these proposals, as we believe they will lead to an increase in the number of unsafe and illegal vehicles on our roads.
“”he government is claiming that by considering this change, motorists will save money because modern day cars don’t need their vehicles tested as often.
“The worry is that within the 12 month extension, motorists will be driving around with defects that are actually more costly to repair – and significantly more dangerous as a result.”
Figures from the Department for Transport, as presented by TyreSafe in July, actually state that tyres are the number one contributing factor to killed or seriously injured (KSIs) cases in the UK over the past five years (36 per cent) in terms of vehicle defects, more so than braking and steering faults (31 per cent and 16 per cent respectively).*
According to the DFT, 981 people were either killed or seriously injured from dangerous tyres over the past five years and Bridgestone believes that a law to lengthen the first MOT test to four years will only add to the somber figures, particularly when the average life of a car tyre is around three years.
Shaw pointed out that the cost of tyre related road casualties in the past five years stood at £435,593,773, (according to more figures from the DFT) and argued that the figure would only rise due to tyres coming to the end of their life – and motorists not checking them.
“The tyre industry spends a great deal of time attempting to educate motorists about checking their tyres more regularly, but we know that one in five drivers have never checked their tyre tread depth,” he said.
“When coupling this with the fact that a tyre often needs replacing within four years due to wear and illegal tread depth, you can see that this Budget proposal could have disastrous consequences, with our roads becoming more dangerous than ever.
“We firmly believe that the change in law would negatively impact upon the number of road deaths and casualties on our roads each year.”