LGA - Rogue used tyre sellers putting lives at risk, warn councils

20 May 2019 03:22 PM

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 have warned.

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.

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Notes to editors

  1. There were 87 people killed and 4,596 road casualties in reported accidents in the UK between 2013 and 2017 where illegal, defective or under-inflated tyres were a contributory factor. (Table RAS50007).
  1. More than five million part-worn tyres are being sold in the UK every year, according to the National Tyre Distributors Association.
  1. The UK legal limit for minimum tyre tread depth is 1.6mm. To be legal to sell, part-worn tyres must have at least 2mm. Read the full law relating to the sale of part-worn tyres.