Fast-fit provider Kwik fit has thrown a spotlight on the example of blue light fleets in changing vehicle tyres at well before the legal minimum tread depth.
A freedom of information request to the nation’s police, fire and ambulance fleets found that 73% of the 95 that responded change their vehicle tyres at 2.6mm-3.0mm of remaining depth, compared to the 1.6mm legal minimum. A further 10% are above this, swapping tyres when the get down to 3.1mm-4.0mm.
Two thirds of the fleets responding described its tyre replacement levels as “formal policy” with the rest being “accepted practice”.
The ambulances services had the strongest policies, with 82% changing tyres between 2.6mm-3.0mm, compared with 73% of fire brigades and 71% of police forces in the survey that covered more than 42,000 vehicles.
“The emergency services have the highest standards when it comes to safety and this is something all motorists should be trying to replicate,” said Roger Griggs, communications director at Kwik Fit. “Checking tyre tread depth is often forgotten by motorists, yet it has a vital role in safety as our tyres are the only thing in contact with the road.
“Our research has shown that the emergency services uniformly change their vehicle tyres at a much earlier point than the legal limit as a tyre’s performance starts to deteriorate well before it becomes illegal,” Griggs continued. “When on a ‘blue light’ call our emergency services cannot compromise on safety, but we don’t think any other motorist should either, whether it’s a motorway run or just a trip to the shops.”
Previous research from Kwik fit has found that 12% of drivers don’t check their tyre tread depth on a regular basis, and the fast-fit organisation warned that tread depth has a significant effect on braking distances and road holding well before tyres get to the legal minimum.