Defective tyres cost lives

As someone who has experienced that heart-stopping moment when a tyre blows out at 70mph on a motorway, I can tell you that it’s a white knuckle ride you don’t forget in a hurry.

Thankfully, my experience didn’t result in anything more catastrophic than having to wrestle my car to the hard shoulder of the M1 before changing the tyre on a wet and cold evening in Yorkshire.

But between cursing my luck and counting my blessings, a creeping realisation that this was probably nobody’s fault but my own kept needling me.

The guilty verdict came a day or two later when the man who replaced the shredded remains of my tyre with a new one – an unexpected and expensive outlay for a cash-strapped student – explained that the dramatic failure had probably come about because the tyre had been underinflated.

I hadn’t been reckless, but as a relatively inexperienced driver I had certainly been less than sensible when it came to the general maintenance and upkeep of my car.

Information issued by NFU Mutual recently has underlined how important it is to ensure the vehicles you are responsible for are fit for the road.

Did you know, for example, that problem tyres are responsible for 40 per cent of vehicle-defect related deaths?

The statistics are shocking:

  • It is estimated that up to a third of UK road traffic accidents involve someone driving on business
  • Over 200 people are killed or seriously injured in a work-related driving accident every week
  • Just 27 per cent of drivers checked their tyre tread depth in the past month
  • In 2013, 2.2 million cars failed their MOT because of dangerous tyres

 

Whilst I know to my cost that all drivers are individually responsible for checking tyre treads, lights, mirrors and wipers, what I didn't know is that businesses responsible for company vehicles have a legal responsibility to manage health and safety effectively, and that includes their fleet.

NFU Mutual suggests business owners implement a simple tyre check process as part of their driver policies which could identify potential problems with air pressure, tread depth and condition before they result in an accident.

For further information on tyre safety or to arrange a free tyre check, visit www.tyresafe.org.