Using tyres that are more than 10 years old could land vehicle operators in trouble, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) has warned.
With immediate effect, any DVSA check that finds a tyre over 10 years old being used on a heavy vehicle or trailer will result in follow-up investigations 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, they could be referred to the Office of the Traffic Commissioner for possible regulatory action.
In a revised version of its Guide to Maintaining Roadworthiness: Commercial Goods and Passenger Carrying Vehicles, the DVSA now sets out the requirements for ensuring a robust tyre management system.
It includes the need to monitor tyre age, with any tyres older than 10 years not to be used except on a rear axle as part of a twin wheel arrangement.
Where tyres over 10 years old are used, the Guide notes, their age should be recorded and a specific risk assessment that considers the speed and loading conditions that the vehicle will operate under must be carried out.
It also advises that tyres in service are appropriate to the vehicle and operating conditions, that tyre pressures are maintained and monitored, and that staff dealing with tyre management are properly trained and empowered to act with sufficient authority.
Available at assets.publishing.service.gov.uk, the Guide also includes information on more general issues, including roadworthiness and daily checks and inspections.
“DVSA’s priority is to protect everyone from unsafe drivers and vehicles,” the Agency’s Chief Executive, Gareth Llewellyn, said.
Tyre safety is vital and the DVSA has always taken strong action to protect the public from unsafe tyres of all ages, he added, and the message now is that no one should use tyres more than 10 years old.