It has updated the Guide to Maintaining Roadworthiness to include a new categorisation of defects document for older tyres.
Also, with immediate effect, if the DVSA finds a tyre more than 10 years old as part of routine enforcement work, it will carry out follow up investigations on the operator. If they are unable to provide an adequate explanation for using an old tyre, or their tyre management systems aren’t up to standard, DVSA may refer them to the traffic commissioners for potential regulatory action.
Transport Engineer also highlighted the danger of old tyres in a cover feature earlier this year (TE March 2018; click the link below).
Roads minister Jesse Norman says: “I asked the DVSA to consider this measure as a means to tighten enforcement against the use of older and potentially dangerous tyres.
“This is an important step forward in our efforts to improve tyre safety. The Department for Transport is continuing to work with experts to collect robust evidence on older tyres. This research will report back in the spring.”
DVSA chief executive Gareth Llewellyn says: “Tyre safety is vital and DVSA has always taken strong action to protect the public from unsafe tyres of all ages.
“By changing our approach, we’re sending the message that no one should use tyres more than 10 years old.”
The guidance is supported by industry bodies such as the Road Haulage Association and the Freight Transport Association.
FTA’s Phil Lloyd, head of engineering and vehicle standards policy, says daily walk-around checks need to be supplemented with more in-depth inspection by engineers or tyre inspectors. “FTA advises all drivers to request an age evaluation as part of their vehicle check.
“Older tyres may look sound at first glance, but on closer inspection, a small crack or perishing of the rubber compound may be evident – the effects of which may compromise both the safety of the tyre and the vehicle.”
Earlier this year, the Department for Transport announced a study into the safety of ageing tyres – the first publicly funded research of its kind in the UK.
In 2013, the DfT issued guidance to all operators setting out that tyres that have reached the age of 10 years should not be used on a steering axle, and stipulating strict conditions if they are to be used at all.
Since then, DVSA staff routinely check the age of tyres on these vehicles every year, as well as in fleet and roadside inspections.