Dodgy tyres costing lives - Ensure your car is safe to drive

OVER 1,250,000 cars went through the National Car Test (NCT) process last year but a higher ratio than ever — 52% — failed the roadworthiness test. Worringly, 4,500 of those cars were too dangerous to drive and had to be towed away from test centres.

The NCT test is mandatory once a car is more than three years old and last year’s figures show that our national fleet of cars is ageing. Our cars are, on average 8.5 years old. That figure may be about to fall as new car sales for the first quarter of this year are up by nearly 30%.

If that ratio is reduced then, hopefully, road deaths because of safety and functionality issues with vehicles, particularly tyres, might fall.

A report just published by the Road Safety Authority records that tyres are a significantly larger factor in fatal collisions than was thought previously and cause more crashes than any other defect. The RSA studied 867 of the 983 fatal collisions between 2008 and 2012 and found “vehicle factors” were noted in 121 cases — accounting for about 14% of deaths. Poor tyre conditions amounted to almost two-thirds of all factors noticed.

It is common enough to long-finger a new set of tyres when a bill that seems more pressing demands attention but as these figures show, that may not always be prudent. They also show that proper car maintenance is essential.


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