Tyres aged ten years and older will be banned from lorries, buses and coaches on roads in England, Scotland and Wales in a boost to road safety, Roads Minister Baroness Vere this week announced.
The move will make it illegal to fit tyres aged ten years or older to the front wheels of lorries, buses and coaches, and all wheels of minibuses.
The ban follows an extensive investigation, including research commissioned by the Department for Transport (DfT), which indicates ageing tyres suffer corrosion which could cause them to fail.
The secondary legislation will be laid in the autumn and will also apply to re-treaded tyres – with the date of re-treading to be marked – making the age of the tyre clearly visible.
Roads Minister Baroness Vere said: “In the same way that you wouldn’t drive a car with faulty brakes, ensuring your tyres are fit for purpose is crucial in making every journey safer.
“Taking this step will give drivers across the country confidence their lorries, buses and coaches are truly fit for use – a safety boost for road users everywhere.
“This change is in no small way the result of years of campaigning, particularly from Frances Molloy, to whom I thank and pay tribute.”
Frances Molloy’s son Michael died in a coach crash in 2012 when the vehicle had a 19-year-old tyre fitted to the front axle.
Since the accident, Mrs Molloy has campaigned to see the law changed.
The government will also be asking DVSA to continue checking tyre age as part of their routine roadside enforcement activities and adding an additional assessment to the MOT.
Industry officials have welcomed the news and hope further announcements will follow to address the safety issues associated with part-worn tyres.
While the DfT report “was not designed to explore issues related to the use and sale of part-worn or second hand tyres”, it does acknowledge that “there is a strong cross-industry consensus in support of an improved market organisation for second-hand tyres that should be regulated as for new or re-treaded tyres.”
Stuart Jackson, chair of road safety charity, TyreSafe, said: “The government’s willingness to address that concern has to be welcomed as it can only reduce the risks of a tyre-related incident if those tyres are also correctly inflated, have at least the minimum legal tread depth and are otherwise in a roadworthy condition.
“The acknowledgement of the wide-spread safety concern over the safety of part worns being sold to the public is also very welcome.”
However, questions will now be raised about why the ban fails to include passenger vehicles.
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