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Police consider tread-check tech

Date: 10 October 2011   |   Author: Nick Gibbs

UK police are plotting to install tyre checkers that can flag up illegal tread depths as vehicles pass over them.

The newly developed device uses a mix of fast cameras and lasers to measure each groove, and its German makers are also targeting fleets and car dealerships as potential customers.

The Association of Chief Police Officers last month confirmed to BusinessCar that Trevor Hall, secretary to ACPO's roads policing working group, had inspected the device.

"It's application would be as a screening tool with a checkpoint beyond," said a spokesman.

In Germany its developer ProContour has also set up a network of sites for the ?50,000 (£43,000) machines targeted at fleets. Managers encourage their drivers to pass over the nearest device, which also measure tyre pressures, with the results retrieved on-line.

"If you only have checks two or three times a year, you either have to change tyres earlier or risk that you go over 1.6mm and pay a fine. Or worse, you have an accident," said ProContour marketing manager Florian Hitzler.

Meanwhile dealerships in Germany are starting to install them to give customers an objective opinion on tread condition. "The results are final," said Hitzler. "As a customer, you don't have to worry that they need to sell some tyres."

Tyre maker Continental recently demonstrated that cars on a minimum 1.6mm tread depth can need as much as 8m extra to stop at 50mph compared with tyres with 3mm.

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