If you drive with damaged or worn tyres you risk being fined. You risk invalidating your car insurance policy and endangering lives too.
Tyres fitted to a motor vehicle or trailer must be fit for purpose and be free from any defects which might damage the road or endanger any person.
- Tyres should also be free from certain cuts and other defects.
- Cars, light vans and light trailers MUST have a tread depth of at least 1.6 mm across the central three-quarters of the breadth of the tread and around the entire circumference.
- Motorcycles, large vehicles and passenger-carrying vehicles MUST have a tread depth of at least 1 mm across three-quarters of the breadth of the tread and in a continuous band around the entire circumference.
- Mopeds should have visible tread.
A police officer has discretion not to issue a fixed penalty but to report the case for prosecution. In law, the driver and the owner (if different) are liable and one or both may be summonsed.
The maximum fine which a court can impose for using a vehicle with a defective tyre is £2,500 and three penalty points (£5,000 in the case of a goods vehicle or a vehicle constructed or adapted to carry more than eight passengers).
If a vehicle is fitted with more than one defective tyre, you can be summonsed for each tyre which is illegal. Disqualification is also possible in certain circumstances.