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Tyres: Safety

Volume 632: debated on Thursday 30 November 2017

3. What assessment he has made of the safety implications of tyres on motor vehicles being more than 10 years old. (902657)

The Department for Transport consulted the European tyre manufacturing industry association and its clear advice was that beyond the age of a tyre, its use and maintenance are significant factors in the ageing process.

Surveys show that 27% of drivers do not check or maintain their tyres. What is the Minister doing to raise public awareness about this?

We are acting on exactly that matter. The Department has introduced measures to manage the use of tyres aged 10 years or more on the steering axles of buses and coaches. Written copies of our guidance have been delivered to every single bus and coach operator in Great Britain. The guidance reflects best practice and supplements separate advice on the use of older tyres.

My Tyres (Buses and Coaches) Bill, which was published this week, is down on the Order Paper for a Second Reading tomorrow. Can the Minister confirm that he and his party will not seek to oppose the legislation?

The hon. Lady has particular knowledge of this matter. I know that one of her constituents died in an accident relating to a tyre. The hon. Lady came to see the previous Secretary of State, and I know that she has seen the roads Minister, my hon. Friend the Member for Hereford and South Herefordshire (Jesse Norman) about the matter. She is right to take it seriously.

Although I am not going to comment on the question that the hon. Lady asked me—you would not expect me to, Mr Speaker—I will say this to her, and I hope that she will respect how seriously I take the matter. We have issued the new guidance, but I think there is a need for more research, and I am prepared today to commit my Department to engaging in further research with the experts in the industry and others to establish exactly the effect of tyres’ age on safety and security. The safe and secure passage of people is our first priority, and we will do all that is necessary to secure it.

The Tyred campaign was highlighted to me at party conference. As someone who formerly worked in road safety, what I found out was shocking to me, particularly because many of our children travel to school in coaches. I am delighted to hear from the Minister that the Department is undertaking to do more work on the matter. Many visitors to our constituencies come by coach, so can we commit to taking real action to ensure that no more people die in this way?

Absolutely; I understand the point that my hon. Friend makes, and the tragedy that I mentioned in my previous answer involved a young person. My hon. Friend is right that public safety is an absolute priority, so the Department has liaised closely with the British tyre industry to develop a comprehensive guide to good practice. The guide gave a clear recommendation that older tyres should simply not be used on the front axle. As I have said, I want to do more and go further, which is why I will look at the matter in even greater detail.