Government commissions research into the safety of ageing tyres

12-month study to follow fatal crash which killed three people when a 19-year-old tyre failed

Government commissions research into the safety of ageing tyres
Image: Bigstock.

Roads Minister, Jesse Norman has announced a new study into the safety of ageing tyres – the first publicly funded research of its kind in the UK.

The Department for Transport has commissioned independent scientific research which will provide a “fuller picture on the safety of tyres as they get older”.

The announcement follows the death of 18-year-old Michael Molloy, who was one of three people who died in a coach crash in 2012, after the failure of one of the vehicle’s tyres.

The tyre in question had been in use for more than 19 years, and was fitted to the front axle of the coach.

Fatal crash

Following the crash, the DfT issued guidance to all operators setting out that tyres that have reached the age of ten years should not be used on a steering axle, and stipulating strict conditions if they are to be used at all.

Since then staff at the DVSA have been routinely checking the age of tyres on these vehicles every year, as well as in fleet and roadside inspections.

From more than 28,500 vehicle inspections carried out between June and September 2017, just 0.23 per cent failed to meet the legal minimum requirement for tyres, and 0.03 per cent had tyres older than 10 years fitted to the front axle.

In 2013, the then-Transport Secretary met with Michael Molloy’s mother Frances Molloy and her local MP Maria Eagle to discuss the issue of tyre safety.

The Department sought to commission research into the issue of tyre ageing on two occasions, but no bids were successful.

12-month investigation

Now, however, independent scientists from the Transport Research Laboratory will begin a thorough 12-month study to investigate tyre ageing, and whether over time, the integrity of tyres degrades to such an extent that they become unsafe.

After joining the Department for Transport last summer, Roads Minister, Jesse Norman met with Mrs Molloy.

Commenting on the announcement, he said: “Existing guidance in this area has proven to be highly effective since 2012.

“But we want to go further, to examine the issue of tyre ageing in detail.

“I am delighted to announce today that we have asked the experts to collect robust evidence on this issue.

“We have some of the safest roads in the world, but we are always looking to make them safer still.”

Do you believe the research will go far enough? What about the issue of part-worn tyres? Share your comments and any concerns below.

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  • #153925 Reply

    Roads Minister, Jesse Norman has announced a new study into the safety of ageing tyres – the first publicly funded research of its kind in the UK. The
    [See the full post at: Government commissions research into the safety of aging tyres]

    #153942 Reply
    anthony roe

    not so sure about ageing tyres as side walls are easy to examine but part worn tyres i would ban immediately as no life is worth putting part worn tyres on a car where there is no history of the tyre where its been what it has been doing, yes we know they come from Germany but thats all we do now.

    #153944 Reply
    james jackson

    ten years should be max on all tyres. I also agree that part worn tyres should be banned from our roads they are a known source of problems, what price of a life or lives .

    #153945 Reply
    Steph Savill

    This is only happening because of the persistence of a grieving Mum. We totally support Frances’ stance. Undoubtedly old rubber is more brittle/less effective than newer. Let’s hope this tyre research looks at other areas too – yes, part worns but tread levels as well ie if our tyres were changed at 3mm we’d end the part worn market from Germany/Austria in one. But what distresses me most is that it’s taken 6 years to get here. Assuming the tyre/garage industry knows the risks motorists run here, how come it’s taken Frances to convince the government not the so called tyre pros?

    #153948 Reply
    joe digney

    as a tyre depot selling tyres for more than 30 years i have some disasters with part worn tyres
    we refuse to sell them even though we could make more money from them
    its clearly a safety issue as we dont know the history of the tyre they are just someone elses scrap

    #153949 Reply
    Peter Miles

    I agree with Steph Savill’s post above. Our present MOT testing limits for tyres are ridiculous. 1.6mm is very little tread depth, especially in torrential rain, and even then the outer edges can be totally bald but so long as no cords are poking through that’s considered acceptable.
    Then we all see sidewalls perished and although there might be 5 or 6mm tread left would you trust it for a long motorway journey? And yet all we can do is “pass and advise”.
    With all the major changes coming in the test then amongst all the ridiculous things like reversing lights and contaminated brake fluid (which is fine until you realise we’re not even allowed to remove the reservoir cap) they’ve put in the draft manual I would hope they might tighten up a bit on tyres.

    #153956 Reply

    A few years ago, I had a blow out on the M25 resulting, luckily, only to the underside damage of the vehicle. RM tyre, where I get all my tyres, stated that a tyre lifetime is only good enough for four years. Eversince I have listened to their advice and hence pass this advice to my customers.Therefore, it should be a legal requirement for all tyre manufacturers to inscribe the lifetime of tyres.

    #153963 Reply
    Eddie Bamber

    I have every sympathy with Mrs Molloy, and agree that the laws and tyre inspections around PSV and HGV tyres should be looked at. Regarding part worn tyres on cars, yes, a lot of these tyres are imported. However, we have cars that are written off in accidents at very low mileages, are we saying that the tyres on these vehicles should be scrapped when they are perfectly useable ?. I have no issue with part worn tyres as long as I source them myself.

    #154214 Reply

    hi how can you know the date off a ten year tyre

    #154921 Reply
    Bob Barringer

    Please remember that class 5 busses have a 1mm minimum tread depth, this is set by the government.
    The 1.6mm limit for cars/vans is set by the tyre manufacturers associations.
    Buses full of people on 1mm tread scares me!!!!!

    #154936 Reply

    The manufacture date of a tyre is stamped into a strip in the sidewall close to the bead.
    Maybe an expiry date should be used instead to allow manufacturers to develop longer life tyres. Some cheap tyres perish after a few years, some decent ones don’t after 10.

Viewing 11 posts - 1 through 11 (of 11 total)


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