Ministers have announced a ban on tyres aged 10 years and older on lorries, buses and coaches on roads in England, Scotland and Wales.
The Department for Transport (DfT) said the ban follows the determined efforts of campaigners and an extensive investigation by government, including research it commissioned, which indicated that ageing tyres suffer corrosion that could cause them to fail.
The move will make it illegal to fit tyres aged 10 years or older to the front wheels of lorries, buses and coaches, and all wheels of minibuses. It will also affect existing tyres.
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.’
Baroness Vere said the change was ‘in no small way the result of years of campaigning, particularly from Frances Molloy’, who has campaigned to see the law changed since her son Michael died in a coach crash in 2012 when the vehicle had a 19-year-old tyre fitted to the front axle.
Keith McNally, operations director at the Confederation of Passenger Transport, welcomed the announcement, adding that compliance within the bus and coach industry ‘is already exceptionally high’.
He said: ‘It is good to see that a number of our comments have been taken on board in the Government’s final decision and it is now important that the changes are communicated clearly to bus and coach operators, particularly as the implementation period is only three months.
‘It is important to recognise that many businesses are mothballed at the moment because of Covid-19 and they will need sufficient time to ensure their vehicles are compliant.’
The DfT explained that tyres fitted in twin configuration are not included in the ban as a failure of one tyre in a pair presents a lower risk of loss of directional control or stability.
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.
The Government will also be asking DVSA to continue checking tyre age as part of its routine roadside enforcement activities and adding an additional assessment to the annual MOT test.