Tuesday, June 25, 2019

New Tyre Consultation Awaits Comment from the Road Haulage Freight Sector

Government Wants Answers by September Regarding Ten Year Old Casings
Shipping News Feature
UK – The Government has launched a consultation on plans to bring in new laws banning older tyres on large vehicles in an effort to improve road safety. Tyres aged 10 years and older would be banned from use on buses, coaches, lorries and minibuses in the new proposals which, if supported, could potentially see the new rules implemented by early 2020. The news follows on closely from the report published last month on decade old tyres on which the Freight Transport Association (FTA) later commented.

The latest 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 today. Road Safety Minister Michael Ellis said:

“Our priority is keeping people safe on our roads, and we are taking action to reduce the number of people killed or injured. There is increasing evidence that age affects the safety of tyres, which is why I think older tyres should not be used on large vehicles. I would like to thank Frances Molloy and the Tyred campaign for their work raising this important issue, the changes we are consulting on could save lives.”

The consultation, which runs for 10 weeks, asks whether older tyres should be banned on buses, coaches, lorries and minibuses as well as whether this ban 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 on the front of their vehicles. Inspections of 130,000 buses by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) since 2017 showed only 0.06% were in breach of the guidance. The DVSA 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 in that earlier report, which shows ageing tyres suffer corrosion which 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.

Working with the Road Haulage Association (RHA) last year Michelin published a small booklet advising firms how to avoid tyre problems, and potentially save some money. The ten tips for drivers to follow are:

  • Check Tyre pressures at least monthly
  • At the same time ensure wheels are correctly aligned
  • Run down to reasonable tread levels. The minimum legal tread depth for truck tyres is 1mm but many fleets discard at 4mm. The final few mm deliver the highest kilometres per mm and removal at 2mm is usually acceptable
  • Regroove suitable tyres. Once a tyre gets down to 3-4mm a trained tyre technician can regroove, at a cost of around £30 yet adding 25% to the tyres life
  • Running trucks on re-used tyres can save 40% of the cost of new whilst cutting CO2 emissions by up to 30%. Only genuine top brands such as Michelin’s Remix should be used
  • Specify the latest generation of top brand tyres when replacing new tyres. They offer better mileage and no worries as with some cheaper brands
  • If you operate at high speeds on major roads fit low rollling resistance tyres. The compounds they are made with provide better wear than standard tyres
  • Train your drivers ! Better trained drivers using gentle accelerator and brake movements can save tyres and 10% in fuel costs
  • Fit an Aerodynamic kit, this can equal a 10% reduced drag factor
  • Not a tyre tip as such, but a reduction of engine idling time can save around £600 per vehicle in a 420hp truck
  • by not running air con, heater etc when not actually needed and stationary