According to the National Tyre Distributors Association the increasing number of unregistered foreign vehicles is creating a tyre safety “black hole”. The NTDA claims that there are around 140,000 foreign registered cars on our roads and they, together with the 3 million foreign vehicles that visit our shores each year, are not bound by the UK’s registration and MOT systems.
Peter Gaster, chairman of the NTDA, said, “Our concern is that foreign-registered cars often come from countries which have less stringent testing and maintenance standards than the UK. Once they’re in the country they can drive around with little risk of detection and without having to take an MOT test or even re-register with the DVLA”.
Cars that stay in the UK for more than six months should be re-registered, but many of these vehicles are untraceable and never find their way onto the system. The problem is compounded by the growing black market sales of unregistered cars.
Gaster went on to explain, “Tyre condition and good maintenance are absolutely crucial factors in road safety and our fear is that thousands of cars could be driving around with sub-standard tyres that are not being picked-up by MOTs or regular servicing. In addition to tread depth and inflation pressures we are concerned about tyre ageing, in which older tyres can fail, despite appearing to be sound at first glance. Our members have already identified this issue in some foreign registered vehicles they have checked, so we know there is a potential problem that needs to be highlighted”.
The magnitude of the problem is further underlined by the statistic that reveals a 47 percent increase in the number of foreign drivers involved in accidents in Britain. Polish drivers head the table of foreigners involved in crashes. Over the last five years the number of Poles involved in crashes has risen from 361 in 2001 to 3,132 in 2006. It would seem that at least the Poles are registering their vehicles. They represent 36 percent of foreign vehicle registrations.