During the period from the last week in August until the first week in September, 2017, random tyre inspections were carried out in different parts of Sweden.
The polic conducts normal traffic inspections, in which the driver is asked to present his/her driving license and is given a breathalyser test. When this has been completed, the driver is offered the opportunity of having the car’s tyres inspected. The tyre inspection is voluntary.
While tyre specialists check the inflation pressure and depth of the tyres’ tread, traffic safety experts from NTF (The National Society for Road Safety) explains the importance of having adequate tread and the correct inflation pressure in the tyres. Information is also given about labelling of tyres with respect to fuel efficiency and other essential parameters. The driver is also asked to answer several questions. When the tyre inspection has been completed, the driver is given a device to measure tread depth, a form listing the measured tread depth and inflation pressure of the car’s tyres, and an information flyer.
The tread depths and inflation pressures that are checked during the random inspections is recorded. The results forms the basis of a random tyre inspection report.
On a wet road surface, when tyres are worn to under 3 mm (0.1 in.), braking distance and the risk of aquaplaning increase considerably.
During random tyre inspections in previous years, almost every third car had at least one badly worn tyre (3 mm/0.1 in. of tread or less). The remarkable thing was that only one driver in ten was aware that his/her car had one or more badly worn tyres. Previous results also indicated that two of three drivers had not checked inflation pressure during the past month or did not know when this had been done most recently. Under-inflation causes the tyres to wear prematurely and increases fuel consumption. Furthermore, poorly inflated tyres make the car difficult to control in a critical situation. The risk of punctures also increases.
The tyre inspection project is a joint effort between the police, NTF, Bilprovningen (Swedish MOT), The Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute (VTI), Däckbranschens informationsråd (the Swedish tyre trade’s information council) and the Swedish Energy Agency. Its purpose is to increase motorists’ awareness of the significance of tread depth with respect to traffic safety, and the importance of proper inflation pressure for the environment, traffic safety, and for personal finances. The project began in 2004.