3 Sep 2009

Ban on mixing tyres could be in place soon

10:39 pm on 3 September 2009

A ban on mixing snow and regular tyres could be in place next year, making New Zealand the first country to outlaw the combination on vehicles.

The incorrect use of snow tyres has been linked to a number of deaths in New Zealand.

Mixing different types of tyres can cause drivers to lose control of their vehicles in an emergency.

The Transport Agency says it expects the Government to consider a rule change this month and garages will need to learn about the law change before it can be introduced.

The agency says fitting a full set of four snow tyres will still be allowed.

On Thursday the Northland coroner called for a ban on snow tyres commonly found on imported Japanese cars, saying they are lethal when used on New Zealand roads.

Brandt Shortland made the comments during an inquest into the death of Iain Connell, of Whangarei, who drowned after his car plunged into the Ngunguru River in February this year.

Mr Shortland says Mr Connell lost control on a bend and the significant factor in the crash was the presence of both snow and regular tyres on his Nissan station wagon.

The coroner says such tyres are treacherous in wet conditions on tar-seal and should be removed from New Zealand roads altogether.

The Automobile Association says the snow tyres found on many Japanese cars are not designed for most New Zealand conditions.

It says there are a few places in the country where snow tyres are useful - but on wet tar-seal a standard tyre is safer.