From 2012 all new cars will carry a system that monitors tyres pressure in a bid to cut down on road accidents and promote greener driving, it has been announced.
The move by the European Commission follows advice from motoring experts, including international tyres manufacturer Continental, urging the introduction of systems that alert the driver as soon as slight under-inflation is detected.
A recent etyres survey of nearly 300 cars revealed that 42% were driving on under-inflated tyres, while 11% had more pressure than needed.
This can pose serious handling hazards for motorists, especially during the winter months when roads are wet and icy.
Not only is the EC ruling aimed at reducing the number of accidents due to tyre failure, it also hopes to promote environmental protection – as only the correct inflation pressure ensures that a tyre runs with a low rolling resistance and delivers maximum fuel efficiency.
A spokesman for Continental said: ‘Tyre blowouts pose a serious risk to road users, especially if they happen while travelling at high speed.
‘If a driver loses control of the car, a lot of other people on the road are immediately in great danger as well. About 90% of all tyre defects are attributable to a slow leak in tyre pressure.’
It has been estimated that correctly inflated tyres would reduce car running costs in Europe by around £3.1 billion a year.