LONDON—The United Kingdom has instituted a ban on tires aged 10 years old or older being used on the steer axles of medium/heavy-duty trucks and buses, as well as on any single-wheel position on commercial vans with seating for nine to 16 passengers.
The restrictions on older tires are included in the U.K. government's 2021 Construction and Use Regulations, which were passed in July 2020.
Vehicles found with tires that contravene this regulation will fail their annual safety inspection, according to the new regulations.
The new regulation applies to retreads as well, although the age of a retreaded tire is counted from when the retreading was carried out. Tires without a legible manufacturing date will be failed.
The new regulations exempt non-commercial vehicles aged 40 years and older from these requirements.
The new policy traces to a directive from the U.K. Department for Transport from February 2019 to conduct a study into the safety aspects of tires aged 10 years or over. That directive followed a number of high-profile traffic accidents in the U.K. in the years prior to this traced to the failure of tires of this age or older.
Perhaps most prominent among these was the crash of a passenger coach in 2012, caused by the failure of a 19-year-old tire on the coach's steer axle, that resulted in three deaths, including the then-18-year-old Michael Molloy. His mother, Frances Molloy, launched a "#Tyred" information campaign, which gained a nationwide following and generated considerable publicity.
The U.K. government's directive in early 2019 led to a research project to look into what impact the age of a tire has on its safety.