As of 1st November 2012 new EU tyre labels take effect. It’s like when you buy a fridge freezer-there is a colour coded rating sticker attached. You will be able to tell a bit more about the tyres performance. Three qualities are graded; Stopping ability in the wet, fuel efficiency and road noise. Full explanation
So I get the idea, all the motorists in the UK will carefully select the tyres that perform the best and if you care about being safe you’ll pick the tyre with the best and shortest stopping distance. If fuel economy is a concern drivers may select the tyre that returns most efficiency. I am not really sure who will pay much attention to the road noise rating, unless you spend hours on the motorway and you don’t have a functioning stereo!
The fact that we can all see if we actually get good value for money from expensive tyre brands can only be a good thing right?
I think for a small portion of Britain’s car owners yes but if the point of this exercise is to encourage road safety then I fear it is complete waste of time and money! The very people that need encouragement to spend a little more on their tyres will be completely missed by this approach. The motorists who run their cars on a shoestring budget are in my opinion the most vulnerable. They will almost certainly continue to buy the cheapest available tyres, in many cases even second hand tyres which fall outside the legalisation.
For the group of motorists that really care and can afford to choose a good value for money tyre, labelling is a brilliant development. These people were already shopping around and buying carefully in my experience.So there will be little change in buying habits.
For those who run cars on a tight budget, which is a growing group; younger drivers with massive insurance cost, families struggling for spare cash to name just two examples. This make make absolutely no difference what so ever, they will continue to buy cheap, poor quality or even second hand tyres. By doing this they risk their own safety and the safety of the road users around them! See this BBC article for an insight.
A better solution may have been to ban the sale of second hand or part-worn tyres and only allow the sale of new tyres to a set minimum quality standard.
You may wonder what I have against part-worn and cheap tyres, the answers are simple;40% of road accidents involve vehicles with tyre issues. The tyre is the only part of the car that touches the road. Where do part-worn tyres come from? Scrapped vehicles, that have either been involved in a crash or have been scrapped as they are no longer safe on the road! Why would you want tyres on your car that have possible already caused a crash?!