National Highways has invested in a Mobile Tyre Safety Station which it has been lending to operators of major fleets.
One in five breakdowns on the strategic road network (SRN) is caused by tyre failure: that's 50,000 tyre-related breakdowns every year. And 30% of those involve commercial vehicles.
National Highways has analysed tyre breakdowns across the network and found that a major cause of tyre failure is under-inflation – a problem that increases friction, creating higher temperatures, and causing structural damage, premature wear, and a high risk of tread separation. With under-inflated tyres, the vehicle handles less precisely, needs much longer stopping distances, and use more fuel.
The Mobile Tyre Safety Station can be installed at any point in a site where vehicles cross, such as entrances and exits. It combines sensors with vision technology and software algorithms to read tyre pressure, tread depths and axle weight for vehicles up to 7.5t. Any unsafe reading is immediately flagged to the transport manager for fixing.
Vehicles drive over the station, which can inspect up to 1,000 vehicles a day, and readings take less than 10 seconds.
The mobile tyre safety station has tested more than 28,000 vehicles, and 112,000 individual tyres. 12,000 of the vehicles inspected had a tyre inflation issue, with over 4,000 severely under-inflated. 23,000 individual tyres needed attention, and 7,500 required urgent attention
Anthony Thorpe, assistant project manager at National Highways CV Incident Prevention Team, said: “For depots to install the tyre technology is not an inconsiderable investment but it is extremely effective in identifying tyre safety issues and we encourage major fleets to consider this. We have a long line of operators which have already requested the use of the mobile tyre safety station.”