UK Government proposes ban for old tires on heavier vehicles

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As part of its long-term aim of reducing the number of people killed or injured on the country’s roads, the UK Government consulting on plans to ban old tires for buses, coaches, trucks and minibuses, with potential legislation coming into force early next year.

The UK Department for Transport (DfT) has opened a consultation into proposals that would see tires aged 10 years and older banned from use on buses, coaches, trucks and minibuses. The new laws banning older tires on large vehicles to improve road safety could be introduced to Parliament later this year, and if supported, the new rules could be in force by early 2020. The consultation follows a passionate campaign by Frances Molloy, whose son Michael and two friends died in a coach crash caused by a 19-year-old tire in 2012. Her work with the ‘Tyred’ (UK spelling) campaign led to the consultation being launched.

The consultation, which runs for 10 weeks, asks whether older tires 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. UK bus operators have been advised not to use older tires at 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 tires 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 DfT, performed by the UK’s Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) and published last week, which shows ageing tires suffer corrosion that could cause them to fail. The evidence also includes reports from two fatal crashes: one involving a coach on the A3 trunk road in 2012, and another on the M5 motorway in 2017, involving a heavy goods vehicle. The consultation follows continued work to establish the impact of age on tire performance and comes ahead of the government’s refreshed Road Safety Statement and two-year action plan, which will be published shortly.

“Our priority is keeping people safe on our roads, and we are taking action to reduce the number of people killed or injured,” noted UK Road Safety Minister, Michael Ellis. “There is increasing evidence that age affects the safety of tires, which is why I think older tires 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.”

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Adam joined the company in 1994, and has been News Editor of TTT since 2009. In his other role as Circulation Manager, he helped create the original Traffic Technology International distribution list 23 years ago, and has been working on it ever since. Outside of work, he is a keen fisherman, runs a drumming band, and plays an ancient version of cricket.

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