Quarter of UK Cars Found with Dangerous Tyres: Halfords Calls for Stricter Enforcement

In a recent survey conducted by motoring services company Halfords, alarming findings reveal that more than a quarter of cars have tyres in dangerous conditions. This discovery has prompted urgent calls for stricter regulations and improved enforcement to tackle the issue.

Quarter of UK Cars Found with Dangerous Tyres: Halfords Calls for Stricter Enforcement
The UK’s largest ever tyre safety census checked the condition of more than 6,000 tyres (Matt Alexander Media Assignments/PA)
June 27, 2024

Halfords' research involved checking over 6,000 tyres on a random selection of 1,527 vehicles parked in long-term car parks at Edinburgh, Gatwick, and Manchester airports. The survey, conducted in collaboration with car park operator NCP, uncovered that over 25% of the vehicles had at least one tyre that was damaged, cracked, bulging, or excessively worn, requiring immediate replacement.

Flyers were left on windscreens to inform vehicle owners about the tyre checks and any necessary actions. Halfords estimates that dangerous tyres contribute to approximately 7,475 deaths and serious injuries on Britain’s roads each year, a figure four times higher than those attributed to drink-driving incidents.

Graham Stapleton, CEO of Halfords, attributes this issue to the ongoing cost-of-living crisis. "The tyre replacement cycle is significantly behind where it was prior to the pandemic, as people continue to struggle with household bills," Stapleton stated. "People are making tough choices about how they spend their money, and unfortunately, road safety is taking a back seat right now."

Stapleton also highlighted the challenges faced by police forces. "Police officers are very stretched and often lack the tools needed to identify tyre defects during incidents," he explained. Consequently, many accidents caused by dangerous tyres go unreported in official statistics.

The most recent Department for Transport figures show that tyre defects were at least partly responsible for collisions resulting in 147 deaths and serious injuries on Britain’s roads in 2022. In response, Halfords has pledged to donate tyre tread depth gauges to police forces across the UK, ensuring that every patrol car is equipped to boost data collection and enforcement.

To further support road safety, Halfords is expanding its range of tyres to suit all budgets and has introduced a buy now, pay later option. Stapleton is calling on the next government to prioritise road safety through awareness campaigns and major enforcement actions.

He criticised the current system, where vehicles with illegal tyres or brakes can be driven away from garages without any repercussions. Stapleton suggests mandatory uploads of registration numbers of offending vehicles to the Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) system used by police forces as a solution. ANPR cameras read registration plates and check them against database records, alerting police officers when a vehicle should be stopped.

Stapleton concluded, "We need comprehensive measures to ensure that dangerous tyres do not continue to put lives at risk on our roads. It is crucial for the next government to act swiftly and decisively."

With these findings, Halfords is urging immediate action to prevent further accidents and improve road safety across the UK.

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