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Defects in vehicle lights and tyres are increasing in Finland

The importance of lights and tyres for traffic safety to increase in the autumn

A-Katsastus reminds drivers of the importance of headlights and tyres for traffic safety, especially during changing conditions in the autumn. Defects in lights are found in one out of three cars at vehicle inspections. Repair is often left to the driver, as a car is not always called back for re-inspection for mere lighting defects.

A-Katsastus has inspected approximately 750,000 vehicles in Finland this year. A total of nearly 300,000 light-related defects were detected during these inspections. Most of the defects affecting traffic safety were related to dipped-beam lights and their alignment, and these defects are increasing.

In general, the number of light defects has increased during the 2000s. With passenger cars and vans, 33 light defects were observed per 100 inspections in 2000. In 2011, the average number of light defects thus far is 40 per 100 inspections.

During vehicle inspections, defective lights are generally requested to be fixed. A vehicle is allowed a maximum of three requests for repair during a single inspection. The requests for repair are always recorded in the registration certificate, and these notes are not cleared until the next inspection if the defect is found to be fixed. As an exception, a vehicle is rejected if the dipped-beam lights, tail lights or brake lights do not function at all.

Excessively worn-out tyres cause a vehicle to be rejected. So far in 2011, more than 14,000 vehicles have been rejected because of tyres, which equals approximately 1.9 per cent of all inspected vehicles. During the corresponding period in 2010, a total of 11,000 vehicles were rejected for the same reason, constituting 1.5 per cent of all inspected vehicles. The basis for rejection is the lowest groove depth allowed by law, which is 1.6 millimetres for summer tyres and 3.0 millimetres for winter tyres.

Hannu Pellikka, technical director of A-Katsastus, considers the development in recent years to be unfavourable in terms of traffic safety: “Excessively worn-out tyres hugely increase the risk of hydroplaning, for example. As a rule, groove depths of 4 millimetres in summer tyres and 5 millimetres in winter tyres are regarded as sufficient for traffic safety. Moreover, an additional reason for the growing number of light defects is the structure of modern cars; changing bulbs can nowadays be a relatively demanding task.” The police monitor the condition of vehicle lights and tyres in connection with normal traffic supervision, but the vehicle owner always has the primary responsibility.

For further information, please contact:

Hannu Pellikka, Technical Director, A-Katsastus Oy, tel. +358 (0)45 632 2022