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Northern Ireland May Ban 10 year Old Tyres

The age of tyres is something that arises from time to time as a safety issue. There have been accidents in the UK allegedly arising from tyre failure on vehicles with older tyres, either original or retreaded. To date, the UK government has declined to act on age-related tyre limits. However, the Northern Ireland government is consulting on that very issue.

Could Northern Ireland Ban 10-Year-old Tyres?

Infrastructure Minister John O’Dowd launched a public consultation seeking views on banning the use of tyres 10 years or older on certain vehicle types.

This includes the front axles of heavy goods vehicles, buses and coaches and on all axles of minibuses when fitted in single configuration. It does not include private cars.

The NI Government is proposing to ban the use of tyres aged 10 years and older on HGVs, buses, coaches and minibuses, including tyres that have been re-treaded 10 or more years ago.

The age of tyres will be defined by the date of manufacture determined from the markings on the tyre sidewall, and the date of re-treading will be defined as the retread marking on the tyre sidewall. The dates are those required by UNECE international regulations on tyre construction (UNECE regulations 30 & 54, 108 & 109).

The dates provide a consistent record of the age of a tyre which can be observed during routine maintenance, inspection and/or testing, with the possible exception of tyres in a twin-wheel configuration.

To address this, the NI Government is proposing to mandate the visibility of the date markings on tyres in all configurations, and to make it an offence to drive or operate a vehicle where the date markings are not visible and legible. This means in practice that tyres will need to be fitted to the wheel-rims with the date markings facing outwards. Though, this does not address the readability of the internal tyres on dualled wheel sets.

Minister O’Dowd said; “In recent years the safety of older tyres on heavy vehicles has become a matter of increasing concern. There have been a number of very serious road traffic collisions involving coaches and trucks, some with tragic consequences where the accident investigator or a Coroner concluded that the tyre failure was as a direct result of its age.

“I believe there is no compromise on the issue of road safety, and I want my Department to be proactive where it can be. This consultation document seeks your views on proposals to introduce legislation making it an offence to use tyres 10 years or older on heavy goods vehicles and larger vehicles used to transport passengers.

“I would welcome feedback on this important road safety issue, and I would encourage all of those with a vested interest to complete the consultation.”

The consultation will close at 23.59 18 December 2022. This will bring Northern Ireland into line with the rest of the UK. However, the South of Ireland has no such legislation.

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