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Part worns take centre stage at Brityrex International 2014

The opening speaker for the Brityrex International 2014 TyreTalk seminars was the NTDA’s Director Stefan Hay who explained, to a large number of delegates, the current situation regarding illegal part-worn tyres in the UK and what the NTDA is doing to combat this spiralling problem.

Stefan pointed out, that it is considered there are currently around 4.5 million part-worn tyres being sold in the UK every year although he is led to believe the figure could be nearer 6 million. Therefore the NTDA is completely committed to effectively combatting the presence of illegal and non-compliant part-worns on UK roads.

Stefan said, “We are not looking to eradicate part-worns overnight and it is important to note that the Government is on record as stating that part-worn tyres are very important in terms of the management of waste which is highlighting that recycling is a positive action and some part-worns are safe to use and need to be out there in the market place.

However, our big concern is that new part-worn tyre dealerships are opening up at a rapid pace in the UK with an even more disturbing move away from the traditional type of dealer to a more secondary ‘additional service’ such as garage and supermarket hand car washes where they also offer to fit ‘new’ tyres. This is an alarming situation that is happening on a daily basis.

To give you an idea of the scale of the problem we are facing, a recent incident reported to me by an NTDA member in Birmingham when inspecting tyres to be replaced, due to a steering problem identified by the motorist, indicated that two tyres on the rear axle were found to be winter part-worn tyres plus one tyre on the front was around 16 years old, the fourth was the wrong size for the vehicle and had been stretched across the rim. All four tyres were in a very bad condition, including internal de-lamination problems and all totally illegal. This is the sort of situation that the NTDA is trying to eradicate from unregulated side-line operations.”

According to recent figures released by TyreSafe, 986 UK motorists were killed or injured in 2013 in accidents caused by illegal, defective or under-inflated tyres and these sort of figures remain common place on a yearly basis and are no surprise when you learn of the complete horror stories about part-worns. Such as the sold as ‘new’ tyres Stefan demonstrated during his presentation, one of which was found to be 19 years old and another that had been repaired by a number of bizarre means including duct tape used internally to cover a puncture.

During his presentation, Stefan quoted statistics from various part-worn inspections carried out in a UK wide study, but subsequently, TyreSafe has released the results of the full study, co-ordinated together with the NTDA, in conjunction with various Trading Standards offices and local councils, which shows that more than a third, (34 %), of the 817 part worn tyres bought in mystery shopper exercises across the country during the last year, contained faults or damage which meant that they should not have been offered for sale. Furthermore, a remarkable 97 per cent had not been marked by retailers as ‘part-worn’ as is required by law.

The NTDA believes it remains the responsibility of Trading Standards Officers to carry out inspections on part-worn tyres, but is fully aware that like most public bodied organisations they do not have the funding to support these inspections. Therefore the NTDA is currently working with these officers to pinpoint the rogue traders with expertise and funding.