Highways England safety call backed after runaway tyre smashes into HGV

Barry Proctor Services is backing the Highways England call for road users to ensure they carry out simple safety checks on their vehicles and loads before any journey.

The haulier is urging all drivers to check their vehicles before setting off on journeys after a runaway tyre smashed into one of Barry Procter’s HGVs on the motorway.

The incident occurred while his vehicle was travelling on the M42 towards Kidderminster during a weekday morning. Fortunately, Proctor’s driver was not injured.

Barry Proctor, owner at Barry Proctor Services, said: “The runaway wheel suddenly appeared on the carriageway and as a vehicle swerved to avoid it, the wheel crashed into the front of our vehicle causing damage in excess of £2,500.

“If that wheel had hit a car rather than one of my lorries, we would be talking about a fatality today.”

The DAF Drawbar lorry that was damaged by the stray wheel (picture below).

Proctor said HGV drivers are required to carry out a recorded 10-minute walk around safety check before every journey and vehicles are serviced at six weekly intervals.

He also said as the Government eases lockdown restrictions, the road networks will return to high levels of traffic and vehicles such as caravans and campervans, which have been left standing for months, will return to the roads.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) announced that MOT tests for lorries, buses or trailers will restart from July 4.

DVSA suspended MOTs for all heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) and public service vehicles (PSVs) for three months from March 20, due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Richard Leonard, head of Road Safety at Highways England, said: “A brief ‘walk-around’ and carrying out a few simple safety checks before setting off on tyres, oil, water, lights and fuel could prevent a frustrating breakdown on the journey or something far more serious happening.

“With many vehicles not having been used for many weeks during lockdown or even over the winter, it is crucial that drivers are confident their vehicles are safe and loads secure.”

One in 10 cars on the road could be classified as having ‘dangerous defects’, according to analysis of the latest Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) data by BookMyGarage.

Service, maintenance and repair (SMR) for fleets is coming under pressure on three fronts as lockdown is lifted, according to Epyx.

Two-in five (40%) fleets have postponed non-essential service, maintenance and repair (SMR) work, during the coronavirus crisis, according to a Fleet News survey.

Five million fewer MOT tests carried out in April and May 2020 than in the same months last year, according to DVSA figures.

Figures recently released by Highways England, have shown that 46,000 items were found on the nation's motorways and major A roads over just 10 months, with traffic officers having dealth with items including a washing machine, sofa, king-size mattress, to a double glazed door, garden sheds and a ship's mast.

As well as checking loads are secure, drivers are urged to:

  • Check tyres: prior to setting off on a long/significant journey, check your tyre pressures are suitable for the load and the condition of your tyres, including the spare. Look out for cuts or wear and make sure the tyres have a minimum tread depth of 1.6mm, which is the legal limit  
  • Check engine oil: use your dipstick to check oil regularly and before any long journey, and top up if needed. Take your car back to the garage if you’re topping up more than usual  
  • Check water: to ensure you have good visibility, always keep your screen wash topped up so you can clear debris or dirt off your windscreen  
  • Check lights: if your indicators, hazard lights, headlights, fog lights, reverse lights or brake lights are not functioning properly, you are putting yourself and your family at risk. In addition, light malfunctions can be a reason for your vehicle to fail its MOT  
  • Check fuel: before setting out, check your fuel levels and make sure you have enough to get to your destination 

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