Buses and coaches are inspected annually from the anniversary of their date of registration. Tyre condition, wear and their suitability for the vehicle are all checked at that time. Tyres are also checked routinely as part of the safety inspections undertaken by traffic commissioners who manage the licensing of such vehicles.
The Minister may be aware of the tragic death of three people in a car crash on the A3 in September 2010, when a 19-year-old tyre burst on the front axle of their coach. Early-day motion 1166 calls on the Government to commission urgent research into whether legislation can be enacted to limit the age of a tyre on a bus or coach. Will he confirm that the Government are taking this issue seriously? When will they commission such a study?
The hon. Gentleman will know that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State met the previous shadow Secretary of State, along with one of the mothers of the people who were tragically killed in that coach crash. As an interim measure, the Department has already published guidelines to the bus and coach industry recommending that tyres of more than 10 years old are not fitted to the front axles of such vehicles. That was in December 2013, and I can confirm that we are in discussion with the tyre organisations about the product and about whether age and maintenance are the key factors and how they should be addressed.