NatEx welcomes tyre ban

National Express has welcomed new legislation coming into force on 1 February 2021 banning the use of tyres over ten years old on buses, coaches, minibuses and HGVs.

The transport provider has put its full support behind the change that will make it illegal to operate any Public Service Vehicles, including coaches, with tyres over ten years of age. The limit was previously only a recommendation for public transport providers.

The legislation is a victory for the Tyred Campaign set up in the aftermath of a crash on the A3 in Surrey in 2012 involving a coach travelling back to the North West from the Bestival music festival on the Isle of Wight. Three people lost their lives and others suffered life-changing injuries. The cause of the crash was found to be a tyre that was nearly 20 years old. National Express was the first corporate supporter of the Tyred Campaign in 2017.

Frances Molloy, whose son, Michael, died in the crash, said: “This has been a long campaign over many years, during which we have worked tirelessly to ensure we achieve our objective to protect the public against old tyres that are extremely dangerous and should never be allowed on our roads. My son, Michael, was only 18 when his life was cruelly taken due to a 20 year old tyre that was legal. With this law in place, we can help ensure it never happens again.

“The campaign would not have succeeded without ethical and responsible coach operators such as National Express, which was the first coach operator to publicly back the Tyred campaign. Their support was a major turning point in bringing this law into place.”

“We recognise the huge responsibility placed on us in carrying people’s friends and family on the UK roads every day” – Mark Heffernan

Mark Heffernan, UK Operations and Safety Director for National Express, has stressed the importance of making the guidance a legal requirement: “We recognise the huge responsibility placed on us in carrying people’s friends and family on the UK roads every day.

“That is why we already have a policy in place setting a limit of a maximum age of 10 years on any tyres we use and are working toward reducing this further.

“However, this was not standard practice across the industry. This change in law is great news because it brings a requirement that will now be enforced, significantly improving the overall safety standards of passenger carrying operators and reducing the risk of serious tyre-related accidents.”

The legislation will combat the situation whereby the internal elements of a tyre may have significantly degraded to a point where they are unsafe but would not be not visible by an external inspection. It does not however include tyres in twin configuration.

Mark Heffernan adds: “We agree with the Tyred Campaign that this exemption is wrong and want to see a total ban. We will continue to support them in campaigning for this to happen as soon as possible.”

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