London — The UK government is launching a consultation on legislation to ban tires aged 10 years or over, on buses or mini-buses, coaches and heavy goods vehicles.
The decision was made following a research project that investigated the direct impact of tire-age on safety, the department for transport (DfT) announced 26 Feb.
"We have been working hard to understand the link between tire-age and road safety," said transport secretary Chris Grayling.
“Emerging evidence and leading expert testimony”, he said, have shown that tires over the age of 10 years should be banned on larger vehicles based upon the 'precautionary principle'.
The move follows the "Tyred" campaign, in response to a coach crash in 2010, in the south of England.
Three people were killed in the incident, which was caused by the failure of a 19-year-old tire.
"I believe the changes we are consulting on will save lives,” said roads minister Jesse Norman said.
The DfT has since taken steps to improve tire safety, including issuing guidance advising bus operators against fitting old tires on the front axles of vehicles.
This has been reinforced through inspections by the Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA).
The agency has inspected over 136,000 buses and coaches since June 2017 and found that 0.06% breached the guidance.
The DVSA announced in November last year that it was targeting operators of vehicles using tires more than 10 years old.
The UK government has also commissioned "world-leading research" to establish the effect age has on the integrity of road vehicle tires.
As part of this research, the transport research laboratory has worked with “a leading laboratory” in the US to carry out testing and analysis.
The outcome of this research will be published later in the spring, according to the DfT.