British Police May Introduce Tire Tread Cameras

Britain’s Association of Chief Police Officers is considering deploying an automated system which can measure the amount of tread depth remaining on the tires of cars passing over an in-road sensor. According to Auto Express, the sensors could permit automated ticketing of people driving with badly worn tires.

The system, made by German company ProContour, uses lasers and cameras embedded in the roadway to automatically measure the tread depth of every tire that passes it. If a tire has less than 1.6 mm (0.063 inches) of tread remaining, the system sounds an alarm. That could signal to a nearby police checkpoint to pull over the offending car and examine its tires.

The ProContour device reportedly costs €50,000 (about $67,200). An ACPO spokesman told Auto Express that, “It would be used as a screening tool, with a checkpoint beyond.”

In most U.S. states, tires are deemed worn out and illegal for road use when they have 2/32 of an inch (about 0.0625 inches) tread remaining. Wheel and tire supplier Tire Rack recommends replacing tires when they have between 6/32 and 4/32 of an inch (0.187 and 0.125 inches) of tread remaining.

The idea, of course, would be to ticket drivers whose cars have worn-out or bald tires, thus forcing them to replace their car’s tires. That should improve road safety by ensuring all cars have adequate traction, especially in rain or snow. At the same time, the automated system could be another way to raise revenues by serving up tickets to motorists. What’s your take on the technology? Weigh in by way of the comments section below.

Sources: Auto Express, Tire Track

I'd like to see this used in Canada to enforce a snow tire law. Most drivers in Canadian winters don't use snow tires, and they cause all the accidents in winter.
Red light and speed cameras are only revenue generators if you speed on public roads or run red lights, both of which are stupid activities. Speed belongs on a track.
Mister Man
My initial thought was anger that governments are always finding new ways to nose into our lives, but this actually makes sense to me. I would prefer to know that other motorists are maintaining their vehicles in a manner that is safe for others traveling the roadways. I spend lots of money keeping my car in safe and reliable condition, and I expect that others would uphold the "safe" part at the very least. Balding tires are a potential threat to other drivers, not just the owner of the vehicle in question, so I believe that once other people are involved you carry a greater responsibility if you choose to use the public roadways.
Anarchist Pirate Snipe
I see this as great. I'm no fan of speed cameras, which are most often used as revenue tools rather than the safety tools they claim to be, and ditto for red light cameras which seem to encourage as much dangerous behavior as they discourage and which also seem to be principally a form of revenue raiser, but this makes infinite sense. Tires are critical items, and often neglected.

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