One in five breakdowns on the strategic road network (SRN) is caused by tyre failure: that’s 50,000 tyre-related breakdowns every year. And 30% of those involve commercial vehicles.
National Highways has analysed tyre breakdowns across the network and found that a major cause of tyre failure is under-inflation – a problem that increases friction, creating higher temperatures, and causing structural damage, premature wear, and a high risk of tread separation. With under-inflated tyres, the vehicle handles less precisely, needs much longer stopping distances, and use more fuel.
National Highways has invested in the Mobile Tyre Safety Station which it has been lending to operators of major fleets.
The tyre technology is installed at any point in a site where vehicles cross, such as entrances and exits. It combines sensors with vision technology and sophisticated software algorithms to read tyre pressure, tread depths and axle weight for vehicles up to 7.5t. Any unsafe reading is immediately flagged to the transport manager for fixing. Vehicles drive over the station, which can inspect up to 1,000 vehicles a day, and readings take less than 10 seconds.
Assistant Project Manager at National Highways CV Incident Prevention Team Anthony Thorpe says: “The mobile tyre safety station has tested more than 28,000 vehicles, and 112,000 individual tyres. 12,000 of the vehicles inspected had a tyre inflation issue, with over 4,000 severely under-inflated. 23,000 individual tyres needed attention, and 7,500 required urgent attention.
“All of the vehicles we have tested so far with the mobile technology product belong to operators with excellent tyre management policies,” he says. “It’s clear that vehicles benefit from being checked day-by-day because tyre pressure can alter quickly between even frequent inspections.”
For fleets, correct inflation and tyre management can:
- Cut fuel consumption by 5%
- Prolong the life of the tyre by 25%
- Cut the need for emergency roadside support by 75%
- Reduce the environmental impact of commercial vehicles
- Lower the risk of collision
“For depots to install the tyre technology is not an inconsiderable investment but it is extremely effective in identifying tyre safety issues and we encourage major fleets to consider this,” says Anthony. “They could see huge benefits and a substantial return on investment. We have a long line of operators which have already requested the use of the mobile tyre safety station.”
Learn more about the mobile tyre safety station and the importance of tyre management and sign up for the Driving for Better Business Programme which is free to access and supports those who manage drivers to reduce road risk in their organisation.
About Driving for Better Business
Driving for work is one of the highest-risk activities that many employees undertake, whether they drive a commercial vehicle, a company car or make occasional work journeys in their own vehicle. As the gig economy continues to grow, this also means those who ride for work as well as those who drive.
Driving for Better Business is a free to access government-backed National Highways programme, delivered in partnership with RoadSafe, to help employers in the private and public sectors reduce work-related road risk, protecting staff who drive or ride for work, and others who they may share the road with.
Our mission is to improve the levels of compliance for all those who drive or ride for work by demonstrating the significant business benefits of managing work-related road risk more effectively.