Almost three quarters of motorway incidents related to tyre failure could be prevented if drivers carry out simple checks, according to startling new research unveiled on Tuesday 24 April 2018 by Highways 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. But an 18-month study says commuters, commercial drivers and other road users can do a lot more to help reduce accidents through regular checking.
To see Bridgestone’s tyre debris study brought to life, visit https://youtu.be/-KSt1a1ndgc
Unveiled at the annual Commercial Vehicle Show at Birmingham’s NEC, the research reveals that almost three quarters of tyre failure samples analysed by Bridgestone involved poor inflation or debris penetration issues – problems which could be potentially avoided with better tyre husbandry.
Both Bridgestone and Highways England, the government company for operating, maintaining and improving the country’s motorways and major A roads, are partners in the multi-agency road safety charity Tyresafe. They worked together to carry out the research over 18 months between the beginning of 2016 and last summer.
During the project, staff working for Highways England at 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, M40, 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% 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
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 accounted 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 underinflated tyres’ Bridgestone and Highways England say simple tyre checks save 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 four hours.