09/11/2010: Will winter tyres become law in Britain?
Whilst not all legislation arising in other EC countries will necessarily pass into law across the entire European Community, the fitting of winter tyres as a legal requirement may well become law in Germany. If so, there may be good reasons to call for the fitment of winter tyres in other EC countries where extreme winter weather conditions occur. And whilst at this stage no one can say if Britain is in for a repeat of last winter’s atrocious conditions, it’s fair to say that many motorists would have benefited from the use of winter tyres and many incidents might have been avoided.
Although the winter tyres debate in Britain may rumble on, it looks as if Germany’s provincial transport ministers have already decided upon the introduction of legislation making the use of winter tyres compulsory. Indeed, the national transport minister has commented that appropriate changes to Germany’s Highway Code are expected to be implemented by in parliament “as soon as possible” in order create what he calls a “concrete winter tyres obligation,”
If and when this new winter tyres legislation is introduced in Germany, changes to the Highway Code would be likely to stipulate the weather conditions in which either winter tyres or all-season tyres must be fitted to a vehicle. Legislation could be introduced in Germany before the end of the year. Of course Germany experiences colder, more severe winters with more snow and ice than the UK which makes the use of winter tyres seem less of a burden on the motorist.
However it’s fair to say that the arguments for the use of winter tyres in Britain are fairly convincing. Car handling and braking would be better in poor weather conditions; reducing accidents and insurance claims as well as improving road safety. Less salt would be required on roads; saving money and reducing pollution and whilst it means that motorists would need to buy and store a spare set of wheels for their winter tyres the benefits may easily outweigh the costs.
So do you need to take any actions in view of winter tyres legislation for Germany? Not immediately is the straightforward answer but the arguments for the use of winter tyres are actually quite good and whilst there is a relatively small upfront cost, the economies in use make good sense. Moreover, since a lot of German-made cars are sold in the UK and new ones in future will be designed and built to use winter tyres, you may end up using them like it or not.