In September 2017, a converted horsebox veered off course on the M5 when its front tyre burst. It hit two vehicles when it crossed into the opposite lane of the motorway at junction 14. This accident, which claimed five lives
, was caused by the use of tyres that were 18-years-old and had deteriorated due to age. This was a tragic yet entirely avoidable loss of life. The inquest at Avon Coroner’s Court, which examined the accident, concluded the five deaths were caused by a collision when the van's tyre suddenly deflated.
Sadly the incident on the M5 was by no means an isolated occurrence – according to figures collected by the Department of Transport
(DfT), 14 people were killed in road accidents caused by illegal, defective or underinflated tyres in 2017. In the same year, 472 accidents were caused by old or unroadworthy tyres.
However, the Government is now considering banning the use of tyres that are more than 10-years-old for heavy goods vehicles, heavy trailers, coaches and minibuses, and banning the use of re-treaded tyres on steered axles.
Earlier this year, The DfT launched a consultation about changing the law and RoSPA was among the organisations that participated.
Our main contributions to the consultation were:
- We agree that it should be an offence to use or operate a vehicle with a tyre fitted that exceeds 10 years of age on heavy goods vehicles, heavy trailers, coaches and minibuses
- We recognise that re-treaded tyres are a key element of the heavy-duty vehicle market and provide a cost-effective product to operators, a sustainable solution to recycling worn tyres and employment at UK manufacturing sites. Therefore those that are less than 10-years-old should continue to be used on non-steered axles, provided they meet UNECE Regulations 108 and 109 and all other standards for tyre maintenance
- We agree with the proposed approach for enforcement, as long as awareness is raised of the planned changes. We agree that any changes should be enforced via the operator licensing regime, roadside checks and roadworthiness checks. The police service would continue to enforce the rules in the usual way, although care must be taken to ensure that they have the capacity to enforce the new legislation.
We also believe that if a ban on tyres more than 10-years-old was to be introduced for taxis and private hire vehicles, this could be part of the licensing test requirement, either via MOT or local authority testing. This could be included in the existing checks on tyres for wear and tear.
RoSPA is supportive of the proposal to ban the use of older tyres and urges the Government to legislate on this matter to help avoid serious accidents, death and injury on Britain’s roads.
You can read RoSPA’s full response to the Department for Transport consultation on banning tyres aged 10 years and older here.
road safety and evaluation officer at RoSPA
Posted: 9/9/2019 3:07:21 PM