Non complying and worn out tires: safety jeopardized on italian roads
An investigation, promoted by Assogomma and Federpneus and carried out by the National Traffic Police department, revealed that on a sample of almost 10,000 cars, one out of five displayed dangerous anomalies on tires
Smooth tires and, in some cases not even complying, poor maintenance and old vehicles. This was the rather unflattering picture on the current status of road traffic in Italy as highlighted by an investigation named “Vacanze Sicure” (safe holidays), promoted by Assogomma and Federpneus and carried out by the National Traffic Police department on a sample of 10,000 vehicles. The results were far from encouraging, in fact, the irregularities recorded by this year’s investigation showed a downward spiral in the overall condition of the vehicles examined and the tires used. Last year 17.93% of the sample showed some anomalies, but numbers soared to 24.72% this year with non complying tires going from 15.26% to 18.13%.
"Anything that might negatively affect road safety must not be overlooked - says Santo Puccia, first official of the State Police -. Driving with smooth, damaged or even illegal tires, exposes drivers to a high risk of road accidents and constitutes a careless act that will negatively affect the entire traffic system". As described by the abovementioned figures, the main cause of this dangerous state of affairs can be linked to the constant aging of the National fleet: in 2010 the average age of the vehicles circulating on our roads was 9 years and seven months, which jumped to 11 years and seven months in 2017. However, even worse was the fact that the average age of the cars checked during the survey was 8 years and two months, 3 years and 5 months younger than average. All this shows that safety is simply not receiving due consideration. And proof of this is the direct connection between vehicles that have not been through MOT inspections and their age, which translates in twice as many damages, a threefold increase in non compliance and smooth tires which are fast becoming a regular feature.
As far as the latter is concerned, the numbers contained in the report show a strong growth, marking a + 8.95% as a total value, with some regions reporting figures that are as much as twice the National average. The Molise case is quite symbolic with a peak of 27.38% in Campobasso, and Lazio (16.14% on average) with Frosinone and Latina reaching 28.33% and 24.31% respectively: last year they reported 5.17%! "To find such disappointing data - says Fabio Bertolotti, director of Assogomma - we must go back 15 years. At that time, however, the general awareness on the crucial role played by those few square inches of rubber that are the only point of contact between the vehicle and the ground was certainly lower than it is now.
And even the media’s perception on the matter was partial at best. This fact should help us to meditate and try to understand if the reasons for this huge step backwards are to be found only in the higher average age of the vehicles along with the ever decreasing buying power of most families or if there are other reasons we must try to investigate. The rising numbers of smooth tires is extremely dangerous even in summer, especially in view of changing weather patterns with tropical thundershowers been recorded every year and the consequent risks of aquaplaning". In additions, we must also mention vehicles running with non complying tires (3.15%, with negative peaks in Lazio, 10.6%, and Umbria, 5.1%), cars with visibly damaged tires (3.46%), and cars with mixed tire sets (different brands or models on the same axle or with 2 winter tires and 2 summer tires on different axles) which scored 4.67%.