MOT exemption doesn’t mean minimum legal tread depth is suspended, motorists warned

More than a quarter of MOT failures have historically been due to unsafe tyres, figures show

Drivers are being warned that the six-month MOT extension does not mean the law governing the minimum legal tread depth of 1.6mm has been suspended.

Tread depth is essential to keep a vehicle in contact with the road in wet conditions.

Without this crucial contact, a vehicle will be more difficult to control and take longer to stop.

At present, a tyre being driven below 1.6mm is illegal and if found by the police could result in a fine of up to £2,500 and three-points being added to a driver’s licence – per tyre.

In the battle to halt the coronavirus pandemic, the government announced that from the 30th March 2020, vehicle owners have been granted a six-month exemption from MOT testing to enable vital services such as deliveries to continue, frontline workers to get to work, and people to get essential food and medicine.

While this measure was deemed to have been essential, it does mean drivers will have to take greater responsibility for their own road safety.

As over a quarter of MOT failures have historically been due to unsafe tyres, too many of Britain’s vehicle owners have until now clearly been leaving tyre checks to the MOT testers.

Stuart Jackson, TyreSafe chairman said: “The need to make vehicles exempt from the MOT is regrettable from a road safety point of view but entirely understandable in the current context of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“However, drivers should be making certain when they drive, their vehicle is safe.

“With so many uncertainties and unexpected events happening to families and organisations all the time, drivers should not delay in carrying out these checks but instead be confident their car is roadworthy no matter what the reason for their essential journey.”

TyreSafe encourages vehicle owners to use a 20 pence piece as a guide to how close a tyre’s tread is to the legal limit.

Motorists should insert the coin across the width of the tyre and around its circumference; if you can see the border to the coin, the tyre is close to the legal limit and should be checked with an accurate gauge.

Drivers should also check their tyre doesn’t have any lumps, cracks or objects embedded in it.

Auto Torque has partnered with Garage Wire to bring you all the latest aftermarket news.


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