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Highways England

The Highways England Incident Prevention Team (IPT) collaborated with WheelRight Ltd to assess how new technology could be used to tackle the problem.

The Casualty Reduction Partnership is a multi-agency partnership which aims to reduce the number of people killed and injured in road traffic collisions. They organised a month-long series of events in their area directly communicating tyre safety to the public.

Why did Highways England get involved?

Concerned about the number of tyre-related incidents on the Strategic Road Network (SRN), the Highways England Incident Prevention Team (IPT) collaborated with WheelRight Ltd to assess how new technology could be used to tackle the problem.

The IPT works to develop and implement initiatives aimed at reducing incidents that cause disruption to the SRN. It identified that tyre failures due to under-inflation are a major incident cause, and in some cases, can result in serious injuries or fatalities.

Two testing areas (one for private cars and the second for commercial vehicles using technology provided by WheelRight Ltd were set up at Welcome Break’s Keele Motorway Service Area (MSA), M6 J14-15 Southbound to operate a tyre pressure technology pilot between April 2015 – December 2015.

The campaign objectives of the pilot were as follows:

– Increase awareness of under-inflated tyres as a killer on the UK’s roads among motorists and HGV drivers
– Encourage drivers to check their tyre pressures every time they refuel
– Raise awareness of the importance of regular checks and their impact on driving safety
– To change consumer behaviour towards executing regular tyre pressure checks, supported by social media content and regular print coverage in the consumer, automotive, HGV and transport press

 

What did Highways England do?

Customer education during the pilot was carried out by on-site Wheelright Ltd ‘ambassadors’ who used leaflets, surveys and informal conversations to raise awareness on the impact of correctly inflated tyre pressures on driving safety. Highways England Traffic Officers who supported the ‘ambassadors’ during the first stage of the pilot with great effect.WheelRight Ltd and Highways England also held regular briefing / demonstration events at Keele MSA. Attendees included RHA, FTA, CMPG, DVSA, Traffic Commissioners, Highways England Senior Management, Welsh & West Midlands Advisory Committee, Caravan Club.

Tyresafe also supported the pilot in October 2015 as part of their ‘Safe tyres save lives’ campaign.

The result

The pilot ended on 31 December 2015 but collated data has provided valuable tyre pressure information and private/commercial vehicle driver reaction to using technology to measure tyre pressures.

Tyre pressure results
During the trial 30,967 vehicles completed the drive over (27,413 from cars & 3,554 from HGVs an average of over 800 vehicles per week of which 1 in 10 drivers were repeat users, ). During the demonstration 152,300 individual tyre pressure readings (109,652 cars and 42,648 HGVs) were measured without stopping a vehicle or removing a value cap.

Car tyre pressure results
1 in 8 tyres were more than 20% from their nominal pressure and 1 in 3 tyres were more than 10% from their nominal pressure.
On average every second car had a dangerously under-inflated tyre.

HGV tyre pressure results
1 in 12 tyres were more than 20% from their nominal pressure and 1 in 13 tyres were more than 10% from their nominal pressure.

On average every HGV had a dangerous tyre

Driver feedback shows that drivers took action when the tyre pressure readings indicated an under inflated tyre and inflated their tyres using the on-site air compressors before leaving the MSA but these tyres are a potential trigger for an accident or incident.

Consumer Survey During the Pilot

Key results:

• Over 1,200 user surveys conducted
• Car drivers gave the system a rating of 9.4 out of 10
• 70% of drivers would pay to use the technology
• Female drivers check tyre pressures less frequently
• Male drivers (under 25 yrs) were the drivers with the poorest tyre condition

Get involved

Like what you hear and want to play a part in making our roads safer, then call TyreSafe on 01787 226995 or email theteam@tyresafe.org