Hundreds have defective cars, random checks across Hull and East Yorkshire reveal
DRIVERS are putting themselves at risk by failing to maintain their cars to save money, police have warned.
Officers believe shrinking household budgets are to blame for a rising number of drivers being found to have defective vehicles.
During a series of random stop-checks across Hull and the East Riding last month, hundreds of drivers were found to have defects – mostly bald tyres and broken lights.
PC Keith Ward, casualty reduction officer for Hull, said: "We are finding, due to austerity, people are scrimping on things and we are seeing more vehicles with defects.
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"Drivers are cutting back on things such as services and I have come across drivers whose tyres are nearly down to the limit and they say they are waiting until they have their MoT.
"That is a bad attitude to have and it is not one I like to see."
In Hull, 61 drivers were given vehicle defect forms, which give them two weeks to repair the problem or face a fine. In the East Riding, 80 drivers were given the forms.
Others were given fixed penalty tickets and fined, or were referred to a considerate driving course.
Hundreds of drivers were stopped at the roadside as part of the Humberside Police campaign to check people's cars were ready for winter.
Officers also found defects on 14 taxis in the city and banned three drivers from using their vehicles until they were repaired.
PC Ward said the most common defects seen were tyres with a tread depth of less than the legal limit of 1.6mm.
"People need to be checking their tyres regularly as they are our only contact with the road," he said.
"It is particularly important in the winter, when the weather is cold and there is snow and ice on the roads.
"The weather is still cold now and we could still experience snow.
"Things such as not having enough tread on your tyres can cause collisions.
"Ultimately, we want to see fewer collisions and fewer people being injured.
"It is very important that drivers check their tyres and lights and replace them immediately or face the consequences.
"Drivers should not be complacent and ensure their vehicles are fit for the road."
Some of the drivers were fined for using a mobile phone, not wearing a seatbelt or not having insurance, but the majority had vehicle defects.
"Seeing people continue to use their mobile phone, or not wear a seatbelt, really concerns me," said PC Ward.
"Using a mobile is particularly bad as it distracts you and means you aren't concentrating, which means you are more likely to be in a collision.
"Seatbelts are there to protect us if those collisions happen."
Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive of the road safety charity Brake, said: "Every year, we support many families whose lives have been torn apart by bad weather crashes, so we're calling on drivers to do everything they can to help avoid tragedies this winter.
"The most important message is to err on the side of caution and not drive if it's snowing, forecast to snow, or there are other dangerous conditions.
"We are also urging drivers to be prepared. Listen to forecasts, and make sure your vehicle is properly maintained and kitted out."