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