• RSA, Minister Donohoe and An Garda Síochána launch major tyre safety awareness campaign
  • Landmark report reveals that vehicle factors contributed to 1 in 8 fatal collisions analysed between 2008 and 2012
  • 111 people lost their lives and 30 were seriously injured in collisions where vehicle defects were a contributory factor
  • Brakes also a factor, contributing to 18 deaths and 6 serious injuries

A new report from the Road Safety Authority (RSA) has revealed that vehicle factors played a role in 1 in 8 (101) fatal collisions in the period 2008 to 2012. Defective tyres were the most significant factor, representing almost two thirds (64.1 percent or 66) of all vehicle factors identified.

983 fatal collisions occurred on Irish roads between 2008 and 2012, claiming the lives of 1,077 people. The forensic details of 867 fatal collisions were analysed to identify the cause of the collision – of these, 858 involved a motorised vehicle. Vehicle factors, such as defective tyres, brakes, steering or suspension, were found to have contributed to 101 of these fatal collisions, in combination with behavioural factors such as speeding, alcohol or drug use.

Defective tyres were the most significant factor, representing almost two thirds (64.1 percent or 66) of all vehicle factors identified as contributory to the collision. The report also found that defective brakes were also a contributory factor in road collisions between 2008 and 2012, contributing to 18 deaths and 6 serious injuries in collisions where a vehicle had defective brakes.

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Paschal Donohoe TD, said: “This report highlights just how important it is that every aspect of a vehicle, whether a car, truck, van or motorcycle, is in proper, roadworthy condition.”

“None of us can predict what will happen when we use the roads – we may encounter other drivers behaving poorly, or weather conditions could be particularly bad.”

But we can take personal responsibility for ensuring our vehicle is properly maintained so that we can rely on our tyres responding to the conditions as they should or our brakes working when they need to. To highlight how critical this is to our safety on the roads, work is currently on-going to bring the offence of defective and non-roadworthy tyres within the penalty point system. So I would urge people to take preventative measures by checking their vehicles regularly and ensure they are roadworthy.”

Ms. Moyagh Murdock, chief executive of the Road Safety Authority said: “This report shows that tyres are the parts of your car that are most likely to put you at risk of a fatal collision if they’re not roadworthy.”

She added: “Don’t assume you can tell if there’s a problem just by looking at them – you can’t. I would strongly recommend that you check your tyres at least once a month. The easiest way to do this is to call into your local garage and get your tyres checked by an expert. Most will probably do this free of charge. When purchasing tyres, invest in tyres that will last and I would urge people not to purchase used tyres, you just can’t be sure of their history and will cost you more in the long run.”

To highlight the dangers of driving with defective tyres, the RSA has launched a powerful new TV, radio, cinema and online advertising campaign entitled ‘Grip’. The purpose of the ad is to make people aware that tyres are the one point of contact their car has with the road. The TV ad shows a man losing his grip with everyone close to him, in a frame that spins, as tyres do – or as a car that has been flipped in a crash does.

More information on the campaign can be found here.