Tyres older than 10 years will be banned on some vehicles in ‘crucial’ road safety update

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Car tyres older than ten years old will be illegal on certain vehicles from 1 February 2021 in a major road safety action taken by the Government after “years of work”. The new rules will mean older rubber will be banned for the front steering axles of lorries, buses and coaches in England, Scotland and Wales.

Under the new rules, drivers must also mark the date that tyres were fitted and this must be visible and kept maintained.

Roads Minister Baroness Vere said the new rule will “give confidence” to everyone that vehicles are “road-safe”.

She said: “We are wholeheartedly committed to improving road safety and making sure a vehicle’s tyres are fit for the road is a crucial part of this.

“Introducing this new law will give confidence to everyone, including lorry drivers, and bus and coach passengers, that the vehicle they are travelling in is fitted with road-safe tyres.

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“This milestone has been reached after years of work by the Government and the determined efforts of campaigners, including Frances Molloy and the Tyred campaign. I truly thank them for their work.”

The Department for Transport (DfT) added that drivers, owners and operators will be responsible to ensure ether tyres meet the new standards.

The DVSA has been asked to continue checking tyres as part of their routine roadside enforcement activities to catch out those breaking the rules.

The DfT has confirmed that an additional assessment will be added to MOT tests specifically checking for the date of used tyres.

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The changes could potentially catch out thousands of road users who may face heavy fines for securing cheap and worn out tyres.

Traffic Commissioners will be notified of repeat non-compliance by operators which could see many lose their licence.

Police officers will also be entitled to enforce the rules and issue penalties where road users are found to be breaking the rules.

The DfT first announced changes would be introduced for tyres older than 10 years old in July after running a consultation to determine changes.

The report found that several respondents had specified that the condition of the tyre was more important than its age.

The DfT said they did not dispute this but based on evidence had concluded that changes “can occur within older tyres that are not visible form an external inspection”.

However, tyres fitted in a twin configuration are not included in the ban because a failure in just one tyre presents a lower risk of complete loss of control.

Campaigners at Tyred, set up by Frances Molloy whose son Michael was killed in a coach crash after the vehicle’s tyres were almost 20 years old, have hit back at the loophole.

They previously said failing to include twin configurations in the new legislation came as a “surprise” and as a “disappointment”.

They said a total ban “makes much more sense” given the “significant risks” that older tyres present on the road.

Tyred previously said: “Our concern remains that not implementing a total ban on old tyres still leaves a ‘loophole’ for operators who do not have safety as their number one priority.

“We are also clear that not having a complete ban on old tyres still presents a significant safety risk on our roads.”

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