Motorists to be hit with penalty points for any faulty tyres
MOTORISTS are to be hit by penalty points and fixed charges for driving with faulty tyres within months.
But it has yet to be decided how many points will be imposed.
Transport Minister Paschal Donohoe revealed that points and charges are in the pipeline and would be introduced "from later in the year".
He made his promise to introduce them as he launched a major new report which found faulty tyres contribute to far more accidents than previously realised.
The results of detailed new analysis of Garda forensic evidence investigations into fatalities estimate tyres are a factor in as many as 14 deaths a year.
The figures show that 'vehicle factors' - especially tyres - contribute far more to deaths and injuries than was believed.
Arising from the research, the Road Safety Authority (RSA) plans a campaign to highlight the dangers posed by tyres that are worn, damaged or under-inflated.
The results, the first of their kind, are based on a five-year analysis of Garda Forensic Collisions Investigations rather than the on-scene preliminary reports. They show tyres were a significant factor in 66 vehicles involved in collisions between 2008 and 2012.
Mr Donohoe denied he was dragging his feet on bringing in penalty points. He insisted that evidence such as the new report and making the public more aware of the dangers had to be taken into account before deciding.
He said he had been "struck by just how big a factor tyres have been in accidents" and he urged motorists to regularly check their vehicles to make sure they are roadworthy.
Based on the study into 858 collisions, the blunt verdict is that no other component in your car is as likely to contribute to a crash as your tyres.
Road Safety Authority chief executive Moyagh Murdock 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."
Chief Supt Aidan Reid said: "Our advice to road users is to get your tyres checked regularly and ensure they are properly maintained or they could fail you when you need them most."
Of the collisions studied - between 2008 and 2012 - tyres emerged as contributing to an accident in 8pc of cases.