Defective tyres largest ‘vehicle factor’ in fatal road crashes

Research shows 121 fatal collisions from 2008-2012 were related to vehicle issues

Tyres are a significantly larger factor in fatal collisions than previously identified far outstripping other vehicle defects, according to an analysis carried out by the RSA. Photograph: Rui Vieira/PA Wire

Tyres are a significantly larger factor in fatal collisions than previously identified far outstripping other vehicle defects, according to an analysis carried out by the RSA. Photograph: Rui Vieira/PA Wire

 

Tyres are a significantly larger factor in fatal collisions than previously identified far outstripping other vehicle defects, according to an analysis carried out by the Road Safety Authority.

In all there were 983 fatal collisions recorded between 2008 and2012 which claimed the lives of 1,077 people – equivalent to the populations of Castlepollard Co Westmeath ( 1, 042 people), or Ennistymon Co Clare (957), Johnstown, Co Kildare (1,004) or Newcastle Co Wicklow (951), among others listed in the 2011 census.

The Road Safety Authority said it analysed 867 of the 983 fatal collisions - representing cases where Garda files had been completed.

It found “vehicle factors” were noted in 121 crashes - accounting in for about 14 percent of fatalities.

Of these vehicle factors tyre condition amounted for almost two-thirds of all factors noted. Defective tyres were also noted more frequently in single vehicle crashes than in multiple vehicle crashes.

Issues with tyres included worn thread,ill-fitting tyres and tyres under or over inflated. More than half of the vehicles identified as having defective tyres, had tyres that were dangerously worn and 10.6 per cent were dangerously underinflated or the wrong size or ill-fitted.

The RSA also said in the majority of cases where tyres were an issue, there was a combination of tyres and behavioural issues such as alcohol, drugs, speed, distraction or fatigue.

The research showed:

-The largest age group driving with defective tyres was the 17-24 age group, at 47 per cent.

-The county with the largest proportion of culpable drivers who had defective tyres was Donegal, at 18.2 per cent. Next were counties Cork, Kerry and Wexford which, each with 9.1 per cent.

-Twenty-one of the vehicles involved in fatal crashes which were deemed to have defective tyres had lost control on a bend.

-A total of 18 people were killed and six seriously injured in collisions involving a vehicle with defective brakes.

-A further 22 people were killed and six seriously injured in collisions where a vehicle had other defects such as cut suspension, inefficient lights, or wipers not working.

As a result of its research the RSA said it would embark on a major advertising campaign to raise awareness of tyre safety.