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Tyre-related deaths on the rise

Cars are getting safer by the year, so much so that there are now more people committing suicide than there are people dying as a result of car crashes. However, new figures suggest that although cars are becoming more tank-like, the tyres they ride on are often far from safe.

Cars may be getting safer, but rubbish tyres are responsible for a spike in serious and fatal accidents.
Cars may be getting safer, but rubbish tyres are responsible for a spike in serious and fatal accidents.

According to figures released by the Department of Transport, 205 people were killed or seriously injured as a result of riding around on illegal, defective or under-inflated tyres. This represents an eight per cent rise on the previous year’s figures, bucking the trend of a previous year-on-year decrease.

These figures are reinforced by numbers from the AA and RAC vehicle rescue services who, during 2011, attended more than 825,000 tyre-related breakdowns between them. For whatever reason, drivers appear to be neglecting or cutting corners with their selection and maintenance of tyres.

Stuart Jackson, chairman of TyreSafe – a non-profit organisation dedicated to raising awareness of the importance of correct tyre maintenance, said: “These latest figures are very disturbing, especially given that the number of casualties in all road accidents also rose for the first time in many years. It really does reinforce the need for drivers to regularly inspect their tyres to make sure they are safe and legal. October’s tyre safety month is the perfect opportunity to carry out some basic tyre checks and help put a stop to this needless loss of life.”

Jackson quite rightly points out that drivers shouldn’t take chances with tyre safety and that sheer ignorance or simply trying to save a few pounds may result in drivers paying a higher price in the long run. By spending a few minutes each month checking the condition of your tyres, you reduce the chances of coming a cropper, particularly during the winter months ahead.

Number of casualties by severity caused by illegal, defective or under-inflated tyres
Year Killed Serious injured Slight injured All casualties
2006 44 263 1,317 1,624
2007 46 237 1,408 1,691
2008 36 228 1,168 1,432
2009 20 196 1,168 1,384
2010 18 172 1,020 1,210
2011 28 177 931 1,136


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