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Checking tyre pressure and damage saves lives


Photo credit to The Daily Mail - Highways England/Bridgestone

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In a recent study conducted by Highways England supported by Bridgestone, an alarming 30 lives a year could be saved if people checked their tyres for damage and ensured they were inflated correctly. Nearly three quarters of motorway accidents are linked to tyre failure that could easily be avoided 6 out of 10 of those being caused by punctures where items had gotten stuck in the tyre, while more than a quarter were down to poor inflation or tyre maintenance.

The problem also has a chain reaction of Britain’s roads causing traffic jams which cost the economy millions of pounds in lost time.

In order to conduct the study 1,035 pieces of tyre debris from the M1, M6, M40, M5 and M42 motorways were collected and supplied to Bridgestone technical engineers to review for signs of prior damage.

Results revealed that:

  • 56% of tyres failed due to road debris penetration

  • 18% failed due to poor inflation

  • 8% failed due to poor vehicle maintenance

  • 1% of tyres failed due to manufacturing defects

  • 1% of tyres failed due to excessive heat

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

  • Economic cost of a 2-hour motorway delay following a 2-lane closure: £135,360

  • Economic cost of a 3-lane motorway closure lasting up to four hours: £1,488,960

Source: Highways England/Bridgestone/ Tyresafe
‘When considering that 32 people were killed or seriously injured in motorway road traffic accidents in 2016 due to illegal, defective or underinflated tyres, Bridgestone and Highways England say simple tyre checks save lives.’

The debris also contained some more alarming facts such as the use of a temporary space-saver spare tyre - designed only for short-term emergency use - which had been ‘run to destruction’ as well as tyres with potentially lethal and illegal ‘string’ repairs of tyres which had been stitched together.

Highways England’s head of road safety Richard Leonard said: ‘England’s motorways are the safest in the world but we’re determined to reduce the number of people killed and 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 pressures and tread depths and looking out for nails and other debris stuck in tyres before setting out on journeys. These simple checks could save lives.’

Bridgestone technical manager Gary Powell, who oversawanalysis of the debris with added: ‘Some simple tyre checks can save lives, not to mention reduce the risk of a stressful breakdown on a motorway. With proper vehicle inspection and maintenance programs, many of the failure methods noted should be detectable and preventable.’

Tyre pressure monitoring systems should be retro-fitted to vehicles which don’t already have the technology to assist in the detection of penetrations and deflation.

You can read the full story here:

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About the author

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By David Sholicar
David is the National Retail Operations Manager for Protyre. One of David’s areas of responsibility and expertise is dealing with the DVSA and MOT’s for Protyre. As the Authorised Examiner Designate Manager ( AEDM ) David deals with applications for changes to the many Vehicle Testing Stations ( VTS’s) including managing the growth of the Number of MOT testing stations that Protyre operate, allocating MOT tester roles, and monitoring the MOT Test logs to ensure that Protyre MOT standards are maintained as the best in the industry.
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