Safety News: Scotland Cuts Drink Drive Limit & Part-Worn Tyres In Spotlight

Crashed car after collisionTwo safety issues close to my heart have hit the newswires over the last week or so — part-worn tyres and the drink drive limit.

Lower Drink Drive Limit For Scotland 

Scotland is to lower its drink drive limit to 50mg alcohol per 100ml of blood, in line with the recommended EU limit.

The change is due to be implemented later in 2012.

Northern Ireland has already lowered its limit, leaving England and Wales as the best places to live if you like to impair your judgement and coordination legally before getting behind the wheel.

As I wrote back in December:

Research shows that the risk of involvement in a fatal accident is five times higher for drivers with a blood alcohol level of 50mg than for drivers who have not had a drink. That’s a five-fold increase – while still staying well below the UK limit.

The risk gets much worse beyond 50mg. At 110mg, the risk of being involved in a fatal accident is 34 times higher than it is for a sober driver. This near-exponential increase above 50 is the reason that the EU recommendation is 50mg.

Yet that the UK government persists in ignoring scientific opinion and leaving our limit at 80mg/100ml — higher than all of Europe and level only with the USA and a few other countries where drink driving is apparently considered an important part of adulthood and a vote winner…

Why not see sense and back Brake’s Not A Drag, Not A Drop campaign?

Trading Standards Urged To Crack Down On Dodgy Part Worn Tyres

Tyre safety campaigner TyreSafe has urged Trading Standards organisations across the UK to crack down on the many garages which are selling part worn tyres that do not meet current legislation.

In April, TyreSafe published a report showing that 98% of part worn tyres are sold illegally – a shocking statistic, made worse by the discovery that one-third of the tyres purchased in their research were obviously dangerous, due to damage or illegal levels of wear.

Stuart Jackson, Chairman of TyreSafe said:

“Despite clear legislation it would appear from our investigation that the sale of illegal part worn tyres is a very real problem and needs to be tackled head on by Trading Standards as a matter of urgency.

Those who sell illegal part worn tyres need to be educated and stopped as it really it could be a matter of life and death.”

Here at, we are completely opposed to part worn tyres. As I highlighted in an older post on the subject, anyone buying part worn tyres ultimately pays more and gets less – especially where safety is concerned. Purely on a cost level, they will wear out much more often, so you will have to pay fitting fees (usually £10/tyre), much more often. It’s daft!

British drivers are happily buying tyres that have been scrapped by other drivers — mostly in Germany. This attitude probably also explains why our MOT failure rate is so much worse than in France and Germany.

If  you are considering buying part worn tyres, at least make sure they do comply with the law (notes below are courtesy of TyreSafe):

Part worn tyres and the law

Part worn tyre mark (courtesy of Micheldever Tyre Services)
All part worn tyres should be marked accordingly - this example courtesy of Micheldever Tyre Services

Under The Motor Vehicle Tyres (Safety) Regulations 1994 (reg.7.) part of the Consumer Protection Act, it is an offence for anyone to sell part worn tyres that do not meet the following principal requirements:

1.   The structural integrity must not be compromised. It should be free of large cuts, any bulges or lumps both internally and externally. No plies or cords should be exposed.

2.   Tyres must have passed an inflation test prior to sale.

3.   The original grooves must still be clearly visible in their entirety and must be to a depth of at least 2mm across the full breadth of the tread, around its entire circumference.

4.   Part worn tyres which have not been retreaded must clearly show the relevant ‘E’ mark alongside which ‘PART-WORN’ must be permanently and legibly applied in letters at least 4mm high. These words cannot be hot branded or cut into the tyre.

5.   Part worn tyres which have been retreaded must show the relevant British Standards mark as applied at the time of retreading alongside which ‘PART-WORN’ must be permanently and legibly applied in letters at least 4mm high. These words cannot be hot branded or cut into the tyre. Retreaded tyres must also show speed category and load capacity index marks in accordance with BS AU 144e 1998.

6.   Any repair to a part worn tyre must have been carried out in accordance with paragraphs 4-7 of BS AU 159.

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