If inspected at a DVSA enforcement check, tyres aged over 10 years old found on these positions will be considered dangerous and attract an ‘S’ marked immediate prohibition notice.
The manufacturer’s date code is now required to be legible on all tyres fitted to HGVs, trailers over 3.5 tonnes, buses, coaches and minibuses. If a tyre is a retread, then the manufacturer date is taken from when the retread was carried out.
However, DVSA did add that it would not automatically refer tyre age infringements to the traffic commissioners. It said: “If we find an operator with a tyre more than 10 years old or without a date code which attracts an ‘S’ marked prohibition notice, we’ll follow that up with the operator first. If the operator can’t show us that they’re adequately managing their tyres, we will consider referring them to the traffic commissioner.”
If the manufacturer date code is not legible on other wheel positions, this will also be an offence and a minor fail result will be recorded at annual test. This would not prevent the issue of a pass certificate but there would be an expectation that the tyre is replaced. The same case applies if the date code is not legible at an enforcement check.
As regards old tyres used in other positions, DVSA states that it is the operator’s responsibility to make sure that it has an adequate tyre management system in place. It says that where tyres more than 10 years old are legally used on other wheel positions, their age should be recorded and a specific risk assessment is completed, that considers the distance, speed and loading conditions that the vehicle will operate under (for example, operating only in urban areas).
The new regulations exempt non-commercial vehicles aged 40 years and older from these requirements, but all tyres of all ages should be regularly inspected by a competent person.
DVSA has updated the Guide to Maintaining Roadworthiness to include the changes. It is available here: https://is.gd/nofine
DVSA has also produced a new guide on tyre defects and damage, available here: https://is.gd/suhuri
Finally, it has promised to update the categorisation of defects, annual test and MOT inspection manuals before the new legislation comes into force in February.