Local, state police offer voluntary tire tread checks

By Real Vail
October 9, 2011

Law enforcement officials are offering voluntary tire tread inspections until Nov. 11 throughout Eagle County to help motorists determine if their tires are safe for winter driving.

Representatives from the Vail and Avon police departments and the Colorado State Patrol will be offering the free vehicle safety checks. A safety check will consist of an inspection of a vehicle's lights, windshield wipers and the overall condition of a vehicle's tires. If a vehicle needs new tires, coupons will be distributed for discounts from participating tire stores in Eagle County.

The voluntary tire tread checks will take place from from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 15 at Costco in Gypsum. Drivers may also stop by the Vail and Avon police departments at any time to get their tires checked by officers.

The Tread Safe Campaign was initiated by Vail Police Officer Rafael Caballero, who says the goal of the campaign is to have proper tires and winter equipment on vehicles to help reduce accidents during the winter months and year-round.

“Throughout the years, we've had accidents in Eagle County where the primary cause of the accident was lack of tire tread depth and condition of the tires,” says Caballero. The accidents ranged from minor fender benders to accidents resulting in death.

Motor vehicles in Colorado are required to have a tire tread depth of more than 2/32" measured in any two tread grooves at three locations equally spaced around the circumference of the tire. During the checkpoints, officers will use a tire tread depth meter to determine if the tires are safe.

Once the vehicle safety checks have been completed, the agencies will be checking tire treads on vehicles throughout the season. At that point, motorists with low tire tread depth could receive a citation for improper equipment on their vehicle, according to Caballero. ”We're hoping to raise awareness through these voluntary checkpoints and to let motorists know of the danger of having unsafe tires. It could save a life.”

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