Motorists could be putting their lives at risk buying dangerous second-hand tyres, with nearly half of used tyres in some areas being sold illegally, councils warn today.
Part-worn tyres are being sold with serious safety defects, unsafe repairs and incorrect labelling, with some used tyres on sale found to be nearly 30 years old, according to councils cracking down on irresponsible businesses flouting the law.
The Local Government Association (LGA), which represents councils in England and Wales, is urging motorists buying second-hand tyres to check they are in good condition and bear the required ‘part-worn’ tyre marking. The stamp lets drivers know that the tyre has been checked and meets legal requirements.
Latest government figures show there were 17 people killed and 719 road casualties – nearly two a day – in reported accidents in the UK in 2017 where illegal, defective or under-inflated tyres were a contributory factor.
With research showing that more than five million part-worn tyres are being sold in the UK every year, the LGA is warning sellers of illegal used tyres they face confiscation of their stock and prosecution which could lead to a hefty fine and a prison sentence.
The LGA is advising motorists to take steps to avoid buying dangerous second-hand tyres and urging traders to comply with used tyre laws. It is also reminding motorists to check their vehicle’s tyres are safe and legal.
Cllr Simon Blackburn, Chair of the LGA’s Safer and Stronger Communities Board, said:
“Dangerous part-worn tyres are putting motorists’ lives at risk and blatant, inexcusable breaches of the law are happening with shocking prevalence in some areas.
“Cheap used tyres might be tempting to buy but if they don’t have the correct legal markings, motorists could unknowingly buy illegal tyres which could contribute to a major accident.
“Motorists buying used tyres should go to a reputable trader and check they have ‘part-worn’ stamped on them as without this mark, they are unlikely to have been checked and the retailer is breaking the law. They should also look out for any cracks, tears, lumps and check the state of the thread before buying.
“Used tyres might not be the best investment. New tyres are available to suit all budgets, provide a safer option and should last longer, meaning they may offer better value for money in the long term.
“Selling illegal used tyres to unsuspecting customers is a really serious offence and we encourage all motorists to report potential breaches of the law.”
Anyone who suspects that part-worn tyres being sold do not comply with legislation should contact their local council’s Trading Standards via Citizens Advice on 03454 040506.
- Trading standards officers from East Riding of Yorkshire Council seized two dangerous used tyres from a garage that had degraded due to their age. Both tyres had exposed cords which could have resulted in “immediate catastrophic failure” had they been fitted to a vehicle while one of the tyres was believed to be around 28 years old. The findings follow an investigation carried out by 10 councils across Yorkshire and the Humber which revealed that of 29 tyres examined, 97 per cent had some form of defect and almost half (45 per cent) were deemed unsafe.
- Following a prosecution by the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham, a tyre business and company director have been ordered to pay £2,712 for selling a customer an unsafe second-hand tyre which had a nail embedded in it and was not marked as “part-worn”. The business had received safety advice by council officers a few months prior to the offence.
- Three tyre fitters were ordered to pay a total of more than £12,000 after being convicted of 20 charges of selling illegal part-worn tyres and having illegal tyres in possession for sale, following a prosecution by Brent Council. All three premises were visited prior to test purchases and given comprehensive advice on how to comply with tyre laws.
- In a prosecution by Redbridge Council the director of a tyre company who sold dangerous and illegal used tyres, was ordered to pay £1,270. The tyres were not labelled as “part-worn” and one had a deep cut that investigations proved would damage its structure causing it to fail.