National Highways has responded to the discovery that tyre failure is responsible for one in five breakdowns on England’s strategic road network (SRN) by investing in what it calls the Mobile Tyre Safety Station, which it is lending to major fleet operators.
Of around 50,000 yearly tyre-related breakdowns, 30% involve commercial vehicles. For this reason, National Highways felt it was necessary to investigate what can be done to support fleet operators in maintaining tyre safety.
It found that under-inflation was a significant cause of tyre failure, which prompted the investment in ensuring that vehicles in large commercial fleets are regularly checked for tyre pressure.
The Mobile Tyre Safety Station works by having vehicles drive over it when entering or exiting a site, allowing sensors to read tyre pressure, tread depths, and axle weight. The station can inspect up to 1,000 vehicles per day as readings take less than ten seconds.
Assistant Project Manager of National Highways’ Commercial Vehicle Incident Prevention Team Anthony Thorpe said: “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.”
He added: “It’s clear that vehicles benefit from being checked day-by-day because tyre pressure can alter quickly between even frequent inspections.”
It is hoped that action like this will contribute to cutting fuel consumption, prolonging the lifespan of tyres, and reducing the need for emergency roadside support. Less breakdowns would also mean fewer disruptions to road transport networks and supply chains.