Highways England has revealed a series of initiatives it is developing or already delivering to help drive down the number of people killed and injured on motorways and major A roads.
The government company is working to slash road casualties by 40% by 2020 and believes focusing on tyre safety – helping family drivers, commuters and commercial drivers alike to keep tyres in tip-top condition – will reduce the number of breakdowns and blow-outs on the road network. In 2016, tyre-related incidents along Britain’s roads led to eight fatalities and 120 serious injuries.
Highways England deals with more than 3,500 wheel or tyre-related incidents every month. Additionally, government figures suggest one in 12 HGV tyres is dangerously underinflated with the figure one in eight for cars.
Stuart Lovatt, Highways England’s road safety lead, said: “Tyre failure is often due to incorrect inflation or worn treads. This can lead to everything from frustrating congestion caused by breakdowns to catastrophic collisions and tragic loss of life.”
Initiatives being refined or developed include:
•Pilot schemes in Lancashire and Yorkshire equipping fire fighters with mobile 3D scanners to give drivers accurate tread depth readings and safety advice
•Equipping Highways England’s own Traffic Officer Service with hundreds of manual tread gauges so they can help drivers make judgements about tyre health
•Investigating ways of quickly scanning vehicles, especially lorries, for other issues such as tyre tread depth, overheating brakes or axles which can cause lorries to break down suddenly, leading to congestion.
•Working with tyre firm Bridgestone to analyse the causes of tyre-related incidents and tyre damage
•Developing a ground-breaking pilot initiative launched two years ago with tyre management technology company WheelRight, where drivers stopping at Keele Motorway Service Area were able to use a drive-through sensor station with an instant print-out facility to check the health of their tyres before heading back onto the motorway.