ERJ staff report (TP)
London − The majority of British motorists are either unaware of the EU tire labelling regulations or do not accurately understand what is covered a year after they were introduced, according to research for Continental Tyres presented during a media briefing on 6 December.
The new system of classification came into force on 1 November 2012 and a study this month reveals that only one in four (27 percent) are confident of the regulations.
Some 2,000 drivers were questioned for Continental Tyres as part of their regular research into attitudes to tire buying and road safety.
When asked to name the categories on tire labels, some 59 percent said stopping distance/grip on dry roads was included when it does not form part of the product characteristics disclosed on the label.
The stopping distance/grip on wet roads was correctly identified by 56 percent of respondents followed by fuel economy (rolling resistance) and external noise.
Laura Hardy, spokesperson for Continental Tyres, said: “With so many different products on sale and with such a range in performance it is really important that motorists are better informed when it comes to deciding what tires to choose as it directly affects their safety.”
In the study, motorists told the researchers that grip in wet conditions was their first consideration when buying tires.
Hardy added: “Given how important tire performance on wet roads is in terms of stopping distances it is reassuring that drivers see this characteristic as the primary consideration for them.
“Though if tens of millions of people are not aware or don’t understand the new labels, then the risk is they are not getting what they want.”
“At Continental, we believe when people understand the performance characteristics of different tires – they make buying decisions with safety in mind.”
For more than a third (37 percent) an MOT [Ministry of Transport] failure is the most likely prompt for changing tires.
Some six in ten will shop around for the best prices on tires. A lack of confidence in buying tires is revealed as 42 percent of people either get someone to do it for them or enlist someone to go with them to offer support.
One in four respondents wrongly identified one of the categories on tire labels as the distance the tire would last.
The external noise of a tire – one of the three categories covered by the EU label – ranked only tenth in the list of priorities motorists had when then considered what tires to select.
The study asked people to rank their priorities when it comes to buying tires – motorists listed what is important to them as follows:
Stopping distance/grip on wet roads
How many miles/kilometres a tire will last
Stopping distance/grip on dry roads
That it comes from a dealer I trust
That it is the cheapest I can get
That it is a brand I have heard of
That it is a premium brand
No idea about buying criteria
The noise the tire makes on the outside of the car