A consultation period began this week which could result in new laws being rushed through the statutes in the UK, banning tyres more than 10 years old on some vehicles.
If the plans get approval, the new laws could come into force as early as next year, and would ban older tyres from heavy goods and passenger carrying vehicles, such as buses and minibuses.
The consultation follows a campaign by Frances Molloy, whose son Michael died in a coach crash in 2012. The subsequent enquiry blamed a 19-year-old tyre.
Road Safety Minister Michael Ellis said, “There is increasing evidence that age affects the safety of tyres, which is why I think older tyres should not be used on large vehicles.”
The consultation, which runs for 10 weeks, asks whether older tyres 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.
Bus operators have been advised not to use older tyres at the front of their vehicles. Inspections of 130,000 buses by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency since 2017 showed only 0.06 per cent were in breach of the guidance.
The DVSA also updated its guidance on maintaining roadworthiness to say tyres 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 Department for Transport and published last week, which shows ageing tyres suffer corrosion which could cause them to fail.
As would be expected in consultations like this, some people think the proposals don´t go far enough, and that older tyres should be banned on all vehicles. Even a car which suffers a loss of control due to a tyre failure becomes a potentially lethal projectile on the road, and any subsequent crash could result in multiple injuries or fatalities in the same way a heavy goods or passenger carrying vehicle could.
The advice as to when to replace tyres varies, but many experts believe that they should be replaced earlier than every 10 years, and of course in the event of damage or wear they should be replaced immediately. If your tyres are 5 years old then closer monitoring is recommended.
You can check the age of your tyres by a 4-digit code embossed on the side. The code “1413” for example denotes that the tyre was manufactured in week 14 of the year 2013. If you can only find a 3-digit code then these tyres were manufactured before 2000 and should be replaced immediately.
If you would like to give your views to the UK Government over the consultation, you can do so on their website, https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/banning-tyres-aged-10-years-and-older