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Treadcam - Tyre tread depth laser enforcement cameras

With speed cameras becoming more sophisticated these days using 'average speed' technology, a possible new type of enforcement camera could be on the horizon, but this time, to catch motorists with bald tyres.

The laser analyzing technology already exist in the form of the Treadcam, a device that police can use to see whether a car tyre is below the legal limit.

How it works

The Treadcam is layed down on a road and if a car or truck passes over it without sufficient tread depth, it sends an alert to police waiting further down the road to pull the driver over. Once stopped, the police follow up with their own manual inspection of the suspect tyre. Aside from just measuring the tyre tread depth, the device can also determine tyre wear patterns, tyre pressure, the tyre type and the axle load.

The machine is manufactured by a German company called ProContour and members of the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) have previously taken a trip to mainland Europe to see the Treadcam in action. They've said that in the future, any decision to bring in the equipment would be made by individual police forces.

Will we see tyre tread cams on our roads and motorways soon?

It's not clear if the tyre tread measuring cam will be widely adopted on UK roads and motorways. For starters, the RAC have criticised the machine by claiming it shouldn't be a priority for police at a time when resources are tight. An RAC spokesman has been quoted as saying:

"Should this be a priority when resources are limited? That £43,000 could fill a lot of potholes, and issues such as drink-driving or driving while using a mobile are more important - Anything that improves safety is welcome, but motorists are going to be left scratching their heads if they start getting fines or points for their tyres.

There's also concern over the cam's hefty price tag. Coming in at around £43,000, it could just be too expensive to roll out across the country in any practical and effective kind of way.

Driving licence penalties

Similar to current legislation, offending motorists could suffer the consequences of points on their licence, a fine, or even both. Also, drivers could face 3 points for EACH TYRE if more than just one is faulty.

Tyre tread depths - legal requirements

Cars, Goods vehicles (less than 3,500kg), trailers and caravans (less than 3,500kg)

At least 1.6mm throughout a continuous band in the centre 3/4 of the tread and around the entire circumference.

Larger vehicles

At least 1.0mm throughout a continuous band across at least 3/4 of the breadth of the tread and around the entire circumference. The original tread pattern must be visible in the remaining quarter.

Motorcycles (50cc and over)

At least 1.0mm throughout a continuous band across at least 3/4 of the breadth of the tread and around the entire circumference. The original tread pattern must be visible in the remaining quarter.

Mopeds and motorcycles under 50cc

The original tread pattern must be visible

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