Road Safety News
 

MP introduces Tyre Ageing Bill

Wednesday 23rd July 2014

A Liverpool MP has introduced a Bill to the House of Commons which would make it an offence to operate a public service vehicle with tyres that are 10 or more years old.

Steve Rotheram, MP for Liverpool Walton, introduced the Bill as a result of the death of Merseyside teenager Michael Molloy, who was one of three people killed in a coach crash in September 2012.

The Tyre Ageing Bill aims to raise awareness of tyre safety on buses and coaches, to promote consumer education on tyre ageing, and improve road safety.

Mr Rotheram said: "People will probably be shocked to learn that there are no age restrictions for tyres used on public service vehicles.

"Whilst a tyre might look in perfectly good condition from an external visual check and its tread might well be within the legal limits, it does not guarantee the condition of the whole thing nor give an accurate representation of the levels of danger that the tyre poses to drivers and passengers.

"I suspect people would be extremely skeptical of allowing their children to ride on a school bus with tyres that were probably manufactured before their child was born.

"It is not beyond the realms of possibility that there are tyres more than twice the age of the children they are transporting and that is simply wrong."

The Bill was accepted by MPs at first reading and is scheduled for second reading on 28 November.

 

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In that case Honor, I would hope that there is evidence of a net road safety benefit (ie casualties due to speeding were greater than those caused by damage to tyres, steering and suspension). I don't believe such an assessment has ever been conducted. Or can you enlighten us?
Eric Bridgstock, Independent Road Safety Research, St Albans

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I think we need to take a step back and remember why these vertical traffic calming measures are introduced in the first place. They are not something any engineer wishes to see but they do prove effective in slowing drivers down when other less intrusive measures have failed but where there is an identified need to do so e.g. for the safety and comfort of other road users such as pedestrians and/or cyclists and for benefit of the surrounding environment and residents. The installation of speed humps is not desirable for drivers but it is sometimes necessary when other attempts to make them slow down have not succeeded. There has to be a compromise and this is one,and sometimes the drivers have to make the compromise. All vertical measures on the highway are constructed to technical specifications and guidelines that are appropriate for the posted speed limit and other local circumstances - so if they are approached at the correct speed and, for a car, ridden rather than straddled, they should not cause harm to the vehicles tyres. How the driver decides to drive them is indeed in their own hands and no-one elses.
Honor Byford, Chair, Road Safety GB

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Honor
Thank you for your response to my posting but you seem determined to make the damage wholly the responsibility of drivers. The problem is, given the wide variety of humps (in terms of style and viciousness) what is "too fast"? Many humps are deceptive, and worn white marking can make them invisible. But it is not just about speed. Cushion style humps are known to cause damage to inside tyre walls at any speed.

It is unacceptable for the road safety industry to be in denial about the untold crashes linked to mechanical failures caused by earlier damage by "traffic calming" measures. It is not wholly due to the drivers; a large degree of responsibility rests with those who have created these hazardous and damaging constructs on our roads.
Eric Bridgstock, Independent Road Safety Research, St Albans

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In answer to Eric's question: I can agree that if humps and other traffic calming measures are traversed too fast that driverís action can result in damage to their vehicle.
Honor Byford, Chair, Road Safety GB

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Some motorists are quite selective about possible damage to their tyres, steering and suspension items. They're concerned about the approved ones on the roads, but they will flock to their local retail park in their droves, happy to traverse the road humps there - typically the most severe road humps known to man! And when it suits them, they have even been known to drive over kerbs!
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

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Honor
You may have a point, but do you acknowledge that humps can cause damage to tyres, suspension and steering? And do you further acknowledge that the effect of that damage on road safety is generally disregarded?
Eric Bridgstock, Independent Road Safety Research, St Albans

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I suspect far more tyre damage has been caused by the adoption of low profile tyres and alloy wheels - which are far less resiliant to crossing any ramp, pothole or uneven piece of road than a deeper tyre on a steel wheel. Presumably these wretchedly inadequate items were invented by someone in a tyre company?
Honor Byford, North Yorkshire County Council

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I suspect far more accidents are caused by tyres that have been damaged by speed humps and other traffic calming measures. And not just tyres - steering and suspension can also fail, perhaps when travelling at 70 on a motorway, following earlier damage by traffic calming.
Eric Bridgstock, Independent Road Safety Research, St Albans

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Out of the number of tyre failure related accidents to commercial passenger vehicles exactly how many of these failures were directly attributable to the age of the tyre? Perhaps the tragic case that Mr Rotheram cites is the only one of its type ever recorded, so is it really worth an act of Parliament to overcome what is probably a vanishingly small problem?

For the Industry's take on the problem, this might answer a few questions. http://www.tirereview.com/how-long-do-truck-tires-last/
Duncan MacKillop, Stratford on Avon

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