POLICE have been told they need to take tyre safety as seriously as they take people using mobile phones at the wheel.

Halfords' CEO has criticised West Mercia Police by saying they prioritise those driving on their phones over bad tyres.

It comes after they discovered that 7 per cent of motorists have illegal tyres in the UK, and it causes a similar amount of fatal crashes as using your phone behind the wheel.

In West Mercia, there were only 19 fines for illegal tyres compared to 1,142 for phone usage across 12 months.  

In response, Insp Darren Godsall, who is part of the Operational Policing Unit in West Mercia Police, said: "Policing the roads is a 24/7 operation throughout the whole of the year, and we are committed to reducing fatalities and injuries across Herefordshire, Shropshire and Worcestershire.

"We have dedicated roads policing teams that enforce across the three counties on a wide number of road safety issues including mobile phone use and vehicle condition (which includes illegal tyres) to ensure we are improving the safety for people using our roads."

Commenting on the findings, Halfords CEO Graham Stapleton said: “The results show very clearly that police forces across the UK are taking the enforcement of the use of mobile phones at the wheels far more seriously than they are worn tyres. 

“Mobile phone usage at the wheel is completely unacceptable and dangerous, make no mistake - but so are worn tyres. 

“We understand that it is easier to spot someone using a phone than to check tyres.

"That is why forces across the UK need an action plan for tackling this safety issue.

"At Halfords, we’re doing all we can to support this by offering a free tyre check to every motorist in the UK to ensure their tyres  are legal.” 

He added that the business has found that many motorists driving with worn tyres are becoming a serious problem during the cost of living crisis - with millions of motorists putting off replacing them.