In the interest of safety, leading figures in the tyre industry are requesting manufacturers to implement new standards in tyre-tread depth. Ashley Croft, Chairman of the NTDA?s Tyre Wholesalers Group, has called on suppliers to recognise that a minimum 3mm tread is safer than the current legal level of 1.6mm.
Mr Croft drew attention to a recent law suite in the United States, where Michelin North America are contesting a $32.4m settlement in favour of a driver who was paralysed following an accident in a car that skidded on a wet road, after new tyres were fitted to the front of his vehicle instead of to the rear.
This increased tread depth would improve handling and safety, especially in wet conditions. Government statistics highlight the importance of the issue. Figures for 2004 reveal that 20% of serious or fatal accidents involved skidding in wet conditions.
Two road safety organisations, BRAKE and Green Flag, have added their support to the campaign, claiming that an increase in tread depth law to 3mm would have a huge impact on road safety. Leading insurance company Norwich Union have also added their support to the claim.
Mr Croft praised the proposed EC Regulation requiring labelling and marking to grade rolling resistance and wet-grip performance. He stated that such grading would enable consumers to make a more informed choice at the time of tyre purchase.
For sometime ETYRES have been keen supporters of this change. For a dramatic illustration of the importance of tread-depth watch our safety video, where Vicki Butler-Henderson gives a graphic demonstration of the differing wet-grip performance between tyres with the minimum legal tread-depth and those with the preferred 3mm of tread.
We believe safety is paramount, and it is pleasing to see that the leading figures in the industry are now moving in this direction.