With schools across the UK set to return after the summer holidays, parents preparing for the daily school run are being reminded about the importance of checking that their car tyres are safe and legal.
The rallying call has been issued by not-for-profit road safety organisation TyreSafe following research carried out by one of its members, which found that more than 30 per cent of cars dropping off children at one Shropshire primary school were fitted with illegal tyres.
“The start of the new academic year means that we will be experiencing many more cars on the roads, particularly at peak times of the day,” comments Stuart Jackson, chairman, TyreSafe. “Many of these cars may be used less frequently so it’s essential that their tyres are checked to ensure that they are roadworthy and legal so that the precious load is transported in a safe manner.”
According to the charity Sustrans, more than 11 million car journeys are made between home and school every day. Meanwhile figures from the Department for Transport show that more than 1,200 road casualties are caused each year as a result of a car travelling on illegal, defective or under-inflated tyres.
Ahead of the return to school, TyreSafe is encouraging parents to check three key areas of their tyres. Firstly, pressures should be checked to ensure that they are inflated to the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended settings, which can be found in the vehicle handbook, inside the fuel filler cap or on a plate on the driver’s door sill.
Secondly, tread depths should be examined to ensure they exceed the UK’s minimum legal tread depth of 1.6mm across the central three quarters of the tyre, around its entire circumference. Parents failing to comply with these minimum requirements not only increase their chances of being involved in a tyre related accident but also risk a fine of up to £2,500 and three penalty points for each illegal tyre.
Finally, the general condition of the tyre should be inspected to ensure they are free from lumps, cuts and bulges. Also any foreign objects embedded in the tread should also be removed.
“Dropping children off at the school gates can be a particularly tough job for tyres with issues such as repeated kerb strikes to deal with,” concludes Jackson. “Making these vital safety checks only takes a couple of moments but could make the world of difference to the safety of you and your children. Of course, this isn’t just a one time job; it’s something that we all should be doing on an ongoing basis at least once a month.”
Parents keen to embrace the back to school ethos and learn more about any aspect of tyre safety can do so by visiting www.tyresafe.org. Alternatively anyone unsure of how to check their tyres is advised to visit their nearest professional tyre fitting centre.