FTA critical of new tyre safety standards

row of vans

The Freight Transport Association (FTA) has criticised the Government for not including commercial vans in new tyre safety standards.

The Department for Transport (DfT) and the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) launched a consultation on banning older tyres, this week.

However, the consultation on banning tyres aged 10 years would only apply to buses, coaches, lorries and minibuses. Vans are not included.

James Firth, FTA’s head of road freight regulation policy, said that the trade body was calling for the Government to include vans in its consultation on banning 10-year-old tyres.

He explained: “With more than 4.2 million of these vehicles on our roads, van operators must be held against the same compliance and safety standards as any other commercial vehicle.

“FTA is committed to ensuring the highest safety standards are met across the logistics industry; we want to see a strong enforcement effort against all vehicles which may compromise road safety, including caravans and trailers.”

Ministers say that new laws banning older tyres could be introduced later this year and, if supported, could be in force by early 2020.

The consultation follows a passionate campaign by Frances Molloy, whose son Michael died in a coach crash caused by a 19-year-old tyre in 2012.

Her work with the ‘Tyred’ campaign led to the consultation being launched this week. 

The consultation, which runs for 10 weeks, asks whether older tyres should be banned on buses, coaches, lorries and minibuses as well as whether it should be extended to taxis and private hire vehicles.

It follows other measures the Government has put into place since 2012.

Bus operators have been advised not to use older tyres at the front of their vehicles. Inspections of 130,000 buses by the DVSA since 2017 showed 0.06% were in breach of the guidance.

The DVSA has also updated its guidance on maintaining roadworthiness to say tyres aged 10 years and older should not be used on the front axles of heavy goods vehicles, as well as buses and coaches.

A growing body of evidence includes research, commissioned by the Department for Transport and published last week, which shows ageing tyres suffer corrosion that could cause them to fail.

The evidence also includes reports from two fatal crashes – one involving a coach on the A3 in 2012, and another on the M5 in 2017, involving a heavy goods vehicle.

The consultation follows continued work to establish the impact of age on tyre performance. It also comes ahead of a refreshed Road Safety Statement and two-year action plan, which will be published shortly.

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  • Edward Handley - 04/07/2019 23:17

    The greatest danger is probably camper vans and caravans which spend long periods parked up in the open air: The tyres stand on one patch and are often exposed to UV light for extended periods. Camper vans often do very limited mileage so a ten year old van may well have done less mileage than a typical one year old private car. They are dug out in the summer, often without being serviced and inspected and are then heavily laden with all the kit needed for a holiday.

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