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Technical Inspections

Better Periodic Technical Inspections

ETRMA examined the mandatory tyre checks contained in periodic technical inspections in 11 EU countries and found out that the tyre checks are anything but harmonised. While tread depth is widely checked, tyre pressure is checked almost nowhere and checks like tyre deformation, tyre wear/uneven wear and control of homologation differ greatly in the EU.

We are missing a systematic view that tyres fitted on all vehicles in the EU meet the same criteria. From the points of view of road safety, proper working of the Single Market and the principle of free movement of people, this lack exposes weaknesses in the working of the EU.

The Directive 2010/48/EU amending the Annex II of the Directive 2009/40/EC of 6 May 2009 on roadworthiness tests for motor vehicles and their trailers, describes various checks of the condition of tyres but is unfortunately not comprehensive. For example, it is lacking a tyre pressure check although driving with tyres properly inflated is one of the most important things to do in terms of tyre maintenance and safety. The list included in the Directive 2010/48/EU should be complemented with the following items as soon as possible:

  • inflation pressure of tyres in accordance with the vehicle manufacturer's recommended inflation pressure and the lack or excess of inflation pressure below a certain threshold. For example 0.5 bar below the lowest inflation specification or above the highest one must give rise to a warning on the inspection report;
  • proper tyre fitment, in particular when the use of winter tyres is made mandatory by national laws;
  • presence of tyre wear indicators;
  • tyre deformation;
  • tyre wear/uneven wear – to be checked on the two sidewalls of tyres, not only the outboard one.

These checks should also be made on a spare tyre where one exists.

ETRMA is also in favour of the inspection of two-wheeled motorised vehicles in Europe. It would contribute to greater road safety and would help fight against fraud, such as tampered-with engines or non-compliant tyres.

 

Enforcement through Roadside Inspections

The Report on the application of the technical roadside inspection (COM(2010)754) shows that 20 % of the checked commercial vehicles had deficiency on their tyres or wheels. The Directive regulating roadside inspection [1] (2000/30/EC) does not specify the actual checks to be made nor cover checks on passenger cars and motorcycles. Crucial for tyre is also compliance with the rule of the minimum allowed tyre tread depth for passenger tyres,1,6 mm [2].

Stronger enforcement actions are needed so that consumers are aware of this rule and do not drive on tyres under the threshold. Tyre checks are quick and easy to undertake by highway police. In addition to tread depth, these checks should include verification of sidewall type approval markings (which means that tyre meets the minimum requirements), tyre pressure and proper fitment (summer/winter) – all vital for shorter braking distances. Tyre checks in roadside inspections would offer immediate benefits for road safety and encourage drivers to pay more attention to proper tyre use and maintenance.

 

Did you know?

In 2007, 2008 and 2009 the Highway Police in Milan checked over 5000 two-wheeler vehicles, of which 20% of motorcycles were fitted with non-homologated tyres!

 


[1] Directive 2000/30/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 6 June 2000 on the technical roadside inspection of the roadworthiness of commercial vehicles circulating in the Community. 
[2] Council Directive 89/459/ECC of July 1989 on the approximation of the laws of the Member States relating to the tread depth of tyres of certain categories of motor vehicles and their trailers