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check your tyres

Worn tyres on your car are an absolute killer - and they're set to become a penalty points offence

A brutal new RSA campaign takes aim at one in eight fatal road crashes being caused by vehicle defects – and two thirds of those accidents are caused by bad tyres.

RSA Ireland / YouTube

A HARD-HITTING new campaign by the Road Safety Authority (RSA) takes aim at the problem of Irish people driving defective vehicles on our roads.

Over a four-year period one in eight fatal accidents were caused by problems with the roadworthiness of the vehicles involved new Garda statistics show.

101 of 858 fatal accidents involving vehicles between 2008 and 2012 were directly attributable to problems with the car or cars involved.

Of those 101 crashes, a staggering 66 (64%) were caused by worn tyres.

The RSA’s new ad campaign, entitled ‘Grip’ (see video above), which is being launched on our TVs this evening, takes aim squarely at the problem of shoddy tyres.


The issue is such a problem that a process is long underway to make defective or unroadworthy tyres a penalty point (and fixed charge notice) offence, according to transport minister Paschal Donohoe.

While defective tyres were by far the greatest problem when it came to fatal accidents, brake-problems were also an issue, contributing to 14 fatal accidents (killing 18 people) in the four-year time period surveyed.

The facts

  • Of 858 fatal collisions in Ireland between 2008 and 2012, motorised vehicle factors contributed to 101 collisions (12%)
  • Faulty tyres were the main contributory factor accounting for 8%.
  • Defective tyres were more prevalent in single vehicle crashes (74%) when compared to multiple vehicle crashes (57%)
  • 71 people were killed and 19 were seriously injured in an accident collision where defective tyres was a contributory factor.

rsa3 Vehicle defects which contributed to fatal accidents in Ireland, 2008-2012 Gardaí / RSA Gardaí / RSA / RSA

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  • Drivers aged between 17 and 24 years accounted for almost half (47%) of fatal collisions involving defective, worn, or over or underinflated tyres
  • The highest proportion of drivers with defective tyres was in Donegal (18%), followed by Cork, Kerry and Wexford (9% each)
  • Losing control on a bend on a regional road and on a road surface that was dry at the time were typical scenarios noted in the investigation reports.

Regular checks

The key message from the launch of the RSA campaign today is that a car needs to be checked for defects regularly – in your tyres case at least once a month.

“Don’t assume you can tell if there’s a problem just by looking at them – you can’t, said RSA chief executive Moyagh Murdoch.

I would strongly recommend that you check your tyres at least once a month.
The easiest way to do this is to call into your local garage and get your tyres checked by an expert. Most will probably do this free of charge.

rsa2 Gardaí / RSA Gardaí / RSA / RSA

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“Get your tyres checked regularly or they could fail you when you need them most,” agrees Garda Chief Superintendent Aidan Reid.

So far this year 43 people have been killed on Irish roads, an increase of five over the same period last year.

You can read an RSA guide concerning tyre safety here.

Read: A jack-knifed truck has completely blocked this Limerick road

Read: A woman has died after being hit by a truck in Cork

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