Duty of Care
Whether you’re a van driver, fleet manager or business owner, you have a duty of care and responsibility to ensure your vehicle’s tyres are in a legal and roadworthy state. Regular checks and inspections are a critical element in ensuring your tyres are safe and legal, helping to save lives.
Van and LCV drivers can benefit from taking more time over tyre maintenance. Not only do they personally risk fines of up to £2,500 and three penalty points for each illegal tyre, they put themselves and other road users at risk. Driving on tyres with insufficient tread depth greatly reduces a van’s ability to stop in the wet. As vans often carry heavy loads and therefore require longer braking distances than cars, it’s particularly important to check their tyres have adequate tread depth. Similarly, adopting a responsible attitude towards correct tyre inflation helps to ensure driver safety. If the tyres on your van are under-inflated before you set off, arrange for them to be inflated at the earliest opportunity. When a tyre is under-inflated, the tyre contains insufficient air to support the weight of the vehicle properly, which adversely affects acceleration, braking and cornering. Over-inflated tyres can also reduce the handling quality of the vehicle and cause high wear in the centre of the tread. Whether you are an owner-driver of your vehicle or drive for an employer, you are responsible to ensure your vehicle is roadworthy. Following the introduction of new legislation, Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) officers and the police can issue fixed penalties at the roadside. The charges vary depending on the type and frequency of the offence and can reach £200 per offence. Tyre tread depth will feature highly among the major criteria for vehicle roadworthiness.
Poorly maintained tyres present fleet managers a number of challenges ranging from a duty of care for their drivers and other motorists involved in a tyre failure incident, health and safety risks for those making roadside wheel changes through to vehicle downtime, premature tyre wear and higher fuel consumption. Fleet managers have a duty of care to their drivers and must ensure they are provided with a safe working environment, including the provision of safe and roadworthy vehicles. Since the Health and Safety Offences Act came into force in January 2009, UK courts have greater authority to prosecute businesses for committing offences such as fitting illegal tyres or faulty brakes. The maximum penalty has increased from £5,000 to £20,000. Fleet managers can play their part in helping to keep van drivers and other road users safe on the roads and reducing the number of MoT test failures by ensuring drivers check vehicle’s tyres thoroughly and regularly.
If you’re a business owner, you have a duty of care to your drivers and must ensure they are provided with a safe working environment, including the provision of safe and roadworthy vehicles. Since the Health and Safety Offences Act came into force in January 2009, UK courts have greater authority to prosecute businesses for committing offences such as fitting illegal tyres or faulty brakes. The maximum penalty has increased from £5,000 to £20,000. Download our handy guide to Van tyre safety (PDF, 500k)