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DRIVING ON THE EDGE: The simple way to check your taxi's tyres that could save you £10,000 and your job



Taxi drivers have long been reminded to check their tyre tread depth to avoid hefty fines and penalty points on their licence.


It's a legal requirement under the Road Traffic Act for the tread depth to be no less than 1.6 mm across the central three-quarters of the tyre and around its entire circumference.

Adequate tread depth is crucial for maintaining grip and stability on the road, particularly in wet conditions where the risk of aquaplaning increases with worn tyres. The deeper the grooves in the tyre, the more water can be dispersed, preventing the tyre from riding on the surface of the water and losing contact with the road.


Interestingly, drivers don't need sophisticated tools to perform this essential check; a simple 20p coin will suffice. By inserting the coin into the tyre grooves, the words "twenty pence" should not be visible. If they are, the tyre does not meet the legal requirements and should be replaced immediately.


The penalties for non-compliance are severe. Each tyre that falls below the legal tread depth can attract a fine of £2,500 and add three penalty points to a driver's licence. Consequently, if all four tyres are below the threshold, the total fines could reach £10,000, with 12 points potentially leading to a driving ban.

To avoid these penalties, drivers should be regularly checking their tyres. Cabbies should be proactive in monitoring their tyre condition, especially when it comes down to carrying the public as part of their job.


Maintaining the correct tyre tread depth is not just about avoiding fines; it's about ensuring that vehicles can stop safely in an emergency. Research shows that the stopping distance from 60 mph is significantly longer for tyres with 1.6 mm of tread compared to those with 3 mm. This increased stopping distance could be the difference between a safe stop and a potentially hazardous situation.


Furthermore, regular tyre checks can improve vehicle efficiency. Correctly inflated and well-maintained tyres reduce rolling resistance, which can improve fuel economy. This is not only good for the wallet but also better for the environment as it leads to lower CO2 emissions.


Taxi drivers should consider incorporating tyre checks into their regular vehicle maintenance routine.


Finally, while the focus is often on the legal and safety aspects, there is also a customer service element to consider. Passengers expect a safe and comfortable ride, and well-maintained tyres contribute to a smoother, quieter journey. Therefore, keeping tyres in top condition should also be a matter of professional pride for taxi drivers.

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