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Government to consult on 10-year-old tyre ban

Checking tyre condition on a truck

The Government is launching a consultation on options to ban older tyres from use on buses, coaches, heavy goods vehicles and mini-buses.

It follows a research project, launched by the Government last year, to look at whether the age of a tyre has a direct impact on its safety.

Transport secretary Chris Grayling said: “Keeping people safe on our roads is our priority, and we have been working hard to understand the link between tyre age and road safety.

“Emerging evidence and leading expert testimony shows us that we need to ban tyres over the age of 10 years from larger vehicles based upon the ‘precautionary principle’ – a move that will make our roads safer for everyone.”

It follows the ‘Tyred’ campaign, led by Frances Molloy, whose 18-year-old son Michael was among three people killed in a coach crash on the A3 in 2012.

The collision was caused by the failure of a 19-year-old tyre on the front axle of the coach.

Roads minister Jesse Norman said: “I want to pay tribute to Frances Molloy and the Tyred campaign for their brilliant campaign to ban older tyres on buses and coaches.

“I believe the changes we are consulting on will save lives. And I hope it will be welcomed by everyone who shares a commitment to making our roads safer, for the benefit of all.”

The move follows a series of measures on tyre safety put in place by the Government.

In 2013, the Department for Transport (DfT) issued guidance advising bus operators against fitting older tyres to the front axles of their vehicles.

This has been reinforced through inspections by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA). Since June 2017, they have inspected 136,263 buses and coaches and have found 0.06% to breach the guidance.

Then in November last year (2018), the DVSA guidance on maintaining roadworthiness was updated to say that tyres of 10 years of age or older should not be used on the front axles of heavy goods vehicles as well as buses and coaches.

In addition, the Government commissioned research in 2018 to establish the effect age has on the integrity of road vehicle tyres.

As part of this research, the UK’s Transport Research Laboratory has worked with a laboratory in the United States to carry out testing and analysis. The outcome of this research will be published later in the spring.

Christopher Snelling, head of UK policy at the Freight Transport Association (FTA), said: “Given the amount of mileage covered by a typical commercial driver, FTA finds it unlikely that many of our members have tyres that are 10 years old.

“FTA is committed to ensuring the highest safety standards are met across the logistics industry, and as such, is happy to work with the Department for Transport (DfT) on this consultation.

“If tyres are undertaking particularly low mileage, there may be a case for exemption, but this needs to be considered further.”

“FTA is dismayed, however, that DfT has embarked upon this consultation without publishing the results of the tyre analysis completed by the Transport Research Laboratory. 

“The results of this research would help determine the correct policy position in this area, so issuing a consultation without this information seems a less than ideal way to get an informed response.” 

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