DfT says evidence stacking up to support ban on older tyres13 June 2019

The Department for Transport says its plans to ban older tyres on commercial vehicles have been backed up by independent research.

Carried out by the Transport Research Laboratory, the study into how ageing affects the strength and safety of tyres shows the effects of corrosion on older tyres.

The research also highlights the importance of good maintenance as moisture penetrating through cuts in the rubber can cause corrosion of the tyre’s structure, potentially leading to tyre failure.

The publication is part of a body of evidence being gathered by the DfT to support its proposed ban on older tyres.

Road safety minister Michael Ellis said: “This research adds to the growing evidence that older tyres should not be allowed to be used on minibuses, buses and coaches, and HGVs.

“Shortly, the department will be consulting on banning ageing tyres to help improve road safety.”

In February, the DfT announced it will consult on banning tyres aged ten years and older from buses, coaches, heavy goods vehicles and minibuses.

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.

A further incident occurred on the M5 near Bristol in 2017 where a lorry drove through the central reservation and collided with oncoming vehicles after its front tyre burst.

The move follows other tyre safety measures already put in place. In 2013, the 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 DVSA: in the last two years, more than 136,000 buses and coaches have been checked and 0.06% were found to breach the guidance.

Also, in November last year, the DVSA’s Guide to Maintaining Roadworthiness was updated to say that tyres of ten years of age or older should not be used on the front axles of heavy goods vehicles as well as buses and coaches (see link below).

Laura Cork

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