69% of motorists don’t know the minimum legal UK tyre depth limit

A new survey from Venson Automotive Solutions reveals that 69% of motorists don’t know the correct legal tyre tread depth limit of 1.6mm, which could leave firms at risk if their drivers are in an accident.
With tyre problems still accounting for 40% of fatal or serious injuries caused by vehicle incidents, Venson reminds fleet operators to be aware of the importance of correct tyre maintenance and the dangers of defective and illegal tyres.
Of motorists surveyed by Venson, those aged 25 to 54 are most likely to be aware of the correct tyre tread depth. However 31% of all those surveyed said they don’t bother to check the depth and rely on their annual MOT to uncover any cause for concern. Women (38%) are more likely to rely on the MOT than men (25%). A further 31% said they check their tyres every six months or so, but 7% only check their tyre tread before a long car journey. The conscientious are in the minority, with just 4% of people surveyed saying they check their tyre tread once a week.
Tyre pressure checks are equally overlooked with 44% saying they only check before going on a long journey. Encouragingly, nearly one in four do check tyre pressures roughly once a month, but 12% rely on their vehicle being serviced to have the pressure checked.
Gil Kelly, Operations Director, Venson Automotive Solutions explains: “It’s important that companies take a more proactive role in ensuring their car and van drivers check their tyres. Firms need to encourage standard inspections, conducted weekly, to reduce the risk of breakdowns and accidents – as well as fines if they go below the legal tread depth of 1.6mm.
“As well as checking tyre tread and pressure, it’s also important to ensure the correct tyres are fitted for every type of company vehicle and use. For example, a manufacturer may sell a vehicle equipped with a standard road tyre, but if the vehicle is being used in a specific environment, such as off road, the tyre will need to be changed. Fleet managers should partner with professionals who will ensure their vehicles are equipped for their needs and that means understanding different tyres and the different uses. A flexible approach to maintenance is also required.”
Concludes Gil Kelly: “Crucially, drivers need to be aware of the need to inspect their tyres on a regular basis, including the spare. Not only will this reduce vehicle downtime, but it minimises the risk of breakdowns and even fines if a tyre tread drops below the legal limits. With a few simple checks, drivers can avoid the risks and businesses can maintain a safer, more efficient fleet.”
· Carry out a tyre pressure check at least once per month, prior to all trips and when the vehicle’s usual load varies.
· Tyre tread depth must be above the legal minimum of 1.6mm. Use a 20 pence piece to measure the depth, if you can see the outer rim the tyre may need changing.
· Find the correct tyre pressure for your vehicle in the manual, on the inside ledge of the driver door and inside the fuel cap.
· Know the weight of your load as this will affect the tyre pressure needed.
· Tyres must be cold when carrying out a check.
· Don’t forget to check towed vehicles.
· During a pressure check, also check the tread and do a visual check for bulges and splits.
· Check pressure more frequently in the summer, as it decreases more rapidly in warmer weather.
· Worn or damaged tyres can affect the safety and handling of a vehicle. If they don’t meet the legal requirements, motorists could face a fine and penalty points on their licence.