Road Safety News

Drivers taking advantage of ‘drive over’ tyre pressure system

Tuesday 26th January 2016

An innovative tyre pressure monitoring system has been used by the drivers of more than 107,000 vehicles since it was launched at Welcome Break Keele Services (southbound M6) in March 2015.

The WheelRight drive over system automatically measures and then records the pressure in a vehicle’s tyres. In addition it can assess the vehicle’s weight, load distribution, and tyre temperature.

WheelRight says the free-to-use pilot unit at Keele Services has recorded 84,000 tyre pressure tests for cars and 23,000 tests for HGVs.

WheelRight points to data in the Road Safety Observatory which suggests that In 2012, “25 people were killed and 169 seriously injured in reported road accidents in Great Britain in which illegal, defective or under inflated tyres were recorded as a contributory factor by the police officers investigating the scene”.

Highways England data also suggests that around 20% of all breakdowns could be attributed to a wheel or tyre defect.

John Catling, WheelRight’s chief executive, said: “It's fair to say that poor tyre pressure presents a very real threat to British roads, so it's great to see so many drivers taking advantage of WheelRight's free monitoring service.

“Tyre blow-outs and punctures are things that could lead to secondary incidents and do seriously disrupt traffic flow.

“It's particularly encouraging to see the logistics sector embrace the system. Tyre maintenance is of course crucial for all road-users, but none more so than HGV drivers.

“Amongst the HGV drivers we've spoken to at Keele, there's an assumption that tyre pressures have already been checked and are correct when the lorry is given the all-clear to leave the depot.

“This practice is not only risky from a safety point of view; it could also be costing fleet operators serious money. On average, tyre under-inflation of just 10% adds an extra £1,000 per year to fleet fuel bills.”



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Richard: My point simply was how would a reporting officer actually know whether defective tyres 'led directly to the actual impact'? There is a danger that the officer might presume that because tyres are seen to be bald or under-inflated that they must surely have played a part, when they might not have. If the tyres had been in perfect condition, the collision may still have happened. For Stats 19 to be useful its data needs to be beyond doubt, which it can't be.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

Agree (5) | Disagree (4)

Hugh - STATS20 states that CFs should be recorded if they, "led directly to the actual impact". This means that officers would not only be 'short-sighted' but also not complying with STATS20!

A stationary car with bald tyres hit by another vehicle should not have CF201 attributed to it for example.
Richard Owen

Agree (7) | Disagree (1)

Yes Paul, tyre condition can be checked at the scene, but the presence of bald or under-inflated tyres on a crashed vehicle does not automatically or necessarily mean they played any part in the collision that had just happened - it would be short sighted of a reporting officer to note any vehicle defect and automatically presume it must have been a factor, simply because it existed.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

Agree (6) | Disagree (3)

Seems like a useful system - it does also measure tyre temperature - so maybe that is factored into the pressure reading? As for contributory factors in accidents - there's rarely just one (Average was 2.4 in 2011) - STATS 19 does have its subjective limitations - but tyre condition is an easy visual check during accident investigation.
Paul Biggs, Staffordshire

Agree (5) | Disagree (0)

re-the 4th para.. how would a reporting officer know, with confidence, that "..illegal, defective or under inflated tyres.." would have been a contributing factor in a particular collision? Is there an automatic presumption that tyres in such a condition must have inevitably played a part? If the road surface was dry, tyre(s) with minimal tread, although possibly illegal, may nevertheless be irrelevant to whether the collison happened or could have been avoided.

A burst tyre at speed causing immediate loss of control is a different matter and would no doubt be cited as the primary cause, but otherwise, I wonder if tyre condition is unnecesarily cited as a contributory factor sometimes.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

Agree (2) | Disagree (5)

This is no doubt a clever use of innovative technology. Siting it at a service area generates well-deserved publicity, but is it really the best place for it? Aren't tyre pressures supposed to be checked cold?

I'd have thought that warm tyres could show what the driver believed to be the correct pressures, when they ought to be inflated to a significantly higher level because of sustained higher speeds and greater load of passengers and luggage.

If drivers do bother to inflate their tyres at the service area, will they have to pay, or will the operator's altruism extend to providing free air as garages used to in the good old days?

I see the equipment being of great use to truck operators with savings on time and fuel consumption. I would be interested to see how many trucks a company would have to run before installation of this kit at a depot would be financially viable.
David, Suffolk

Agree (10) | Disagree (0)