There has been a lot of discussion about tyre standards within the haulage industry of late. In an effort to provide clarity on the matter, CVW spoke to Dave Wood, DVSA Enforcement Policy Manager.
Q. Whose responsibility is it to ensure that commercial vehicle tyres are of the required standard?
Dave Wood (DW): Tyre safety is the responsibility of many people: drivers, workshop staff, and transport managers. At any point in the operation of a vehicle, a tyre could become unsafe, so they should be checked, albeit to different degrees, frequently and by various people.
As a user of vehicles – the driver or the person paying the driver to act for them – it is your responsibility to ensure that the vehicles you use are roadworthy. It’s an offence to use an unroadworthy vehicle on the road.
Q. What are the DVSA’s current set of guidelines for tyre management?
DW: Having a robust tyre management system in place is essential for any professional vehicle operator. The guide to maintaining roadworthiness (GTMR) sets out guidelines for tyre management systems in section 5.2. Operators should ensure:
■ Tyres in service are appropriate to the vehicle and operating conditions
■ Tyre age is monitored and that tyres older than 10 years old should not be used except on a rear axle as part of a twin wheel arrangement
■ Where tyres more than 10 years old are used, their age should be recorded and a specific risk assessment needs to be carried out that considers the speed and loading conditions that the vehicle will operate under
■ Tyre pressures are maintained and monitored
■ Vehicle tyres are regularly and closely examined for damage and wear, with mechanisms in place to address any identified issues
■ Processes exist to distribute best practice in tyre management throughout the fleet
■ Staff dealing with tyre management are properly trained and empowered to act with sufficient authority
■ Any technician dealing with tyre inspections or repairs is properly trained and qualified
■ Any on-site tyres are properly stored
■ Drivers are properly trained and equipped to recognise and report tyre issues.
Q. With the recent bad publicity,are the rules around 10-year-old tyres likely to change, and what are the current rules?
DW: While we help to advise the Department for Transport (DfT) on policy, it will make the final decisions about proposed consultations. We will take into account any findings from the DfT’s ongoing research on old tyres and any consultation into a ban on 10-year-old tyres.
The categorisation of defects manual includes defect wording for tyres aged more than 10 years old fitted to any heavy vehicle or trailer. This manual sets out what action DVSA enforcement staff can take when they find roadworthiness defects on vehicles or trailers. If enforcement staff find a tyre more than 10 years old as part of its routine heavy vehicle enforcement activities, the DVSA will carry out a followup on the vehicle operator.
If the operator cannot give an adequate explanation for using an old tyre, or their tyre management systems are not up to standard, the DVSA may refer them to the Office of the Traffic Commissioner for potential regulatory action.
Q. So what can workshops do to stay compliant when dealing with tyres?
DW: Ensure technical staff are suitably trained, skilled and are up to date with the requirements of the tyre laws. Having a good maintenance system in place is essential, which should include good quality maintenance practices and facilities, supervision and effective management control.