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22 November 21

New Tyre UK Safety Legislation

The Tyre Regulations Every Truck Or Van Driver Should Know About. 

From 1 February 2021 Construction and Use Regulations will not allow tyres aged over 10 years old to be used on the front steeraxles of HGVs, buses, coaches or all single wheels fitted to a minibus (9 to 16 passenger seats). 

This will mean a dangerous fail at any annual test.  The aim of the legislation is to prevent an emergency tyre failure and potentially any catastrophic accidents as experienced in the past.

The way to check you tyres to ensure that they are compliant with the latest tyre regulations is to look at the numbers imprinted on the tyre wall after the code for the tyre size.  The 4 numbers are made up of the first 2 digits denoting the week number i.e. weeks 01-52 and the second 2 digits denoting the year of manufacture. So 0121 is the first week of January 2021.  Effectively, therefore give or take a few weeks left for this year any finishing in 11 are either illegal or will shortly be so and it would be sensible to get your truck tyres replaced now and avoid the need for any emergency tyre replacement.

If inspected at a DVSA enforcement check, tyres aged over 10 years old found on these positions will be considered dangerous and attract an ‘S’ marked immediate prohibition notice.

Trailers  and Retreads

It will also be a requirement for the manufacturer’s date code to be legible on all tyres fitted to HGVs, trailers over 3.5 tonnes, buses, coaches and minibuses. If a tyre is a retread then the manufacturer date is taken from when the retread was carried out.

If the date code on the front steered axle of HGVs, buses, coaches or single wheels fitted to a minibus isn’t legible it will fail the annual test.

If the failure is found at a DVSA enforcement check there could be 2 courses of action, if the tyre isn’t showing any signs of deterioration then the ‘S’ notice can be delayed but if there are any signs that there is deterioration then the tyre will be an immediate prohibition notice and needs to be replaced immediately and you will need to call an emergency 24 hrs tyre replacement service such as Tyrenet to attend the vehicle and get it back on the road in the same way as any HGV commercial or van tyre emergency replacement call out.

If the date code on the tyre is not legible on other wheel positions, this will also be an offence and a minor fail result will be recorded at annual test. This would not prevent the issue of a pass certificate but there would be an expectation that the tyre is replaced as soon as possible but not necessarily via an emergency roadside tyre replacement service.

Using tyres more than 10 years old on other wheel positions 

It’s the operator’s responsibility to make sure they have an adequate tyre management system in place and that they regularly consider the risks associated with using older tyres, even if the law permits.

 Where tyres more than 10 years old are legally used on other wheel positions, their age should be recorded and a specific risk assessment is completed, that considers the distance, speed and loading conditions that the vehicle will operate under (for example, operating only in urban areas).

What about older or vintage vehicles? 

The new regulations exempt for non-commercial vehicles aged 40 years and older from these requirements.

However, you should get all tyres of all ages regularly inspected by a competent person. This should be part of your tyre management and vehicle maintenance system.  It is a service offered by Tyrenet for fleets that are signed up to its service.

Even if an older tyre appears  to be safe, you’ll still need to assess and manage any risks associated with its use. A short journey at a low speed when the vehicle is lightly loaded, poses different risks to those involving long journeys, high-speed journeys, or use while the vehicle is laden.

When is the driver held responsible for failure? 

Beyond the legibility of the date code, consideration will be given to the visible deterioration of a tyre to decide whether the driver is culpable.​ In other words the Government are suggesting that a driver checks the standard of the tyres before every journey to ensure they can’t be held responsible for the failure of a tyre.  If there was an accident then the authorities may use the standard of the other tyres not affected to decide if the driver had been negligent or not.

The Government says, “We would expect the driver to identify obvious visible tyre deterioration, damage or wear on their normal walkaround checks.  Owner-drivers will normally be considered culpable of tyre age or marking offence regardless of visible deterioration.”

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