Tyre-related deaths and injuries and preventable say Highways England and Bridgestone

09-07-2018 12:00

Almost ¾ of motorway incidents that are related to tyre failure could be prevented if drivers carry out simple checks, according to startling new research unveiled by High Ways England and tyre company Bridgestone

More than 30 people were killed or seriously injured in motorway accidents in 2016 due to illegal or faulty tyres.

However, an 18-month study says commuters, commercial drivers, and other road users can do a lot more to help reduced accidents through regular checking.

Richard Leonard, Highways England’s head of road safety, said: “England’s motorways are the safest in the world, but we are determined to reduce the number of people killed or seriously injured on them.”

“This important research confirms our view that road users must play a bigger role and get into the habit of checking tyre pressure, and tread depths – as well as looking out for nails and other debris stuck in tyres before setting out on journeys. These simple checks can save lives.”

Both Bridgestone and Highways England, the government company for operating, maintaining and improving the countries motorways and major A roads, are partners in the multi-agency road safety charity Tyre Safe. They worked together to carry out the research over 18 months between the beginning of 2016 and last July. During the project, staff depots across the West Midlands provided more than 1,000 pieces of tyre debris from motorways to a technical engineering team from Bridgestone to analyse.

The findings from 1035 tyre segments retrieved from the M1, M6, M5 and M42 revealed

• 56% of tyres failed due to road/yard debris penetration

• 18% failed due to poor inflation

• 8% failed due to poor vehicle maintenance

• 1% failed due to excessive heat

• 16% couldn’t be specified to one particular problem

The tyre debris was taken from cars, vans, commercial vehicles and motorbikes, with under-inflation of tyres a key theme, along with poor vehicle maintenance, both of which account for 26% of the entire sample. When considering that 32 people were killed or seriously injured in motorway road traffic accidents in 2016 due to illegal, defective, or under inflated tyres, Bridgestone and Highways England say simple tyre checks safe lives.

In addition, the cost to the economy from a 2-hour delay on a busy stretch of motorway following a 2-lane closure stands at £135,360 and a massive £1,488,960 for a 3-lane closure lasting up to 4 hours.

Some of the examples were particularly alarming, with a temporary ‘space-saver’ spare tyre being run to destruction, while a number of potentially lethal and illegal string repairs were also unsuitable at any speed, let alone 70mph speeds on motorways.

Please accept it as your responsibility to check your vehicles tyres regularly, and if you have any concerns get it checked by a professional.

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