Over their driving career, the average UK motorist picks up a total of four points on their license, according to a new survey. While many of those will be due to speeding, a sizeable number will be the result of driving on illegal tyres.
While most drivers are vaguely aware of the ramifications of speeding, many are not so clued up when it comes to the punishment meted out for defective tyres.
When it comes to speeding, a Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) is commonly issued. This results in a minimum fine of £100 and three penalty points added to the offending drivers licence. Motorists could be disqualified from driving if they build up 12 or more penalty points within a three year period.
However, if a vehicle owner is caught driving on an illegal tyre, the pentaty is up to £2,500, plus three points on their licence per offending tyre. This means a possible £10,000 fine and 12 points, which will lead to an automatic driving ban under the totting up process, all in one hit!
By law, tyres must have at least 1.6mm of tread depth across the central three quarters and around the entire circumference.
How to avoid paying a penalty for illegal tyres
A quick and easy way to see if your tyre tread depth is safe and above the legal limit is to take the 20p test. Simply insert a 20p coin into the main tread grooves of each tyre. If the outer band of the coin is obscured when it is inserted, then your tread is above the legal limit. However, if the outer band of the coin is visible, then your tyres may be illegal and unsafe and need to be checked and replaced as soon as possible.
When taking the test, it is important to check at least three locations around each tyre in order to get an accurate result.
The importance of tyres must never be underestimated. They are the only point of contact between a vehicle and the road and affect braking, steering and grip. The condition of a vehicles tyres goes hand-in-hand with its safety.
Ultimately damaged or defective tyres put the safety of the vehicle driver and passengers at risk, along with all road users.
James Buttrick from Vantage Leasing, which commissioned the study, warned: “When it comes to road safety, there’s only so much you can do – your overall safety can easily be affected by other drivers.”
Denna Bowman, Head Office