By Oliver Hall
The number of drivers successfully prosecuted by courts in England and Wales for driving on defective tyres has risen by 14 percent to more than 4,300 convictions.
The alarming, which relates to tyres offences committed in 2008, marks a seven year high for the crime, up from a low of 3,595 convictions in 2006.
The figures was released by the Ministry of Justice in response to a parliamentary question by Stoke-on-Trent MP, Tristram Hunt.
Stuart Jackson, chairman of TyreSafe, the UK’s leading tyre safety organisation, said: “Many drivers have the misconception that the police are too busy or too stretched to stop and prosecute them for driving on illegal tyres.
“These latest figures show this is clearly not the case and that the court system still considers driving on illegal tyres a very serious offence.”
Current UK law requires car drivers to have a minimum of 1.6mm tread depth across the central three quarters of the tyre, around its entire circumference. Drivers who fail to comply with the regulations face a fine of up to £2,500 and three penalty points for each illegal tyre.
Mr Jackson added: “We fully support the police’s efforts in clamping down on this dangerous behaviour and would encourage all drivers to take a few minutes every month to check their tyre’s tread depth, pressure and general condition.
“Not only could the checks save you from a court prosecution, it could help save your life.”
The information has been released just days ahead of October’s tyre safety month which is educating drivers about the importance and simplicity of checking tyre tread depth. Drivers who are unsure about how to check the condition of their tyres can visit one of the many hundreds of garages and tyre retailers who are offering free tyre safety checks as part of tyre safety month. Alternatively, visit the TyreSafe website (www.tyresafe.org) for more information and advice.
Ministry of Justice data for convictions in 2009 is planned for publication on 21 October 2010.