By Denna Bowman
Businesses and company car drivers are being invited to view a new information site on the internet which offers valuable advice about safety for fleet tyres.
Featured on the TyreSafe website, it offers a one-stop shop for everything relating to fleet tyre safety, including the legal requirements businesses and those driving for work need to know when it comes to tyre safety, such as how to check tyres for the correct air pressure and tread depth.
It also advises how organisations can go about implementing a tyre maintenance policy, something that will hopefully help reduce the 1,200 road casualties last year where illegal, defective or under-inflated tyres were a contributory factor.
However, the central advice is that businesses implementing a robust tyre maintenance policy can enjoy lower vehicle running costs and increased driver safety.
Stuart Jackson, chairman of TyreSafe, explains: “With business drivers spending a large amount of time behind the wheel, it’s imperative that their tyres are safe and legal.
“Companies that correctly maintain their tyres can significantly reduce their fuel bills and enjoy safer driving for their staff. I would strongly urge all businesses, fleet managers and individual company drivers to take a look at our online-fleet information, if only that it might help them cut their fuel bills.”
In fact, one TyreSafe member has calculated that a car driving with tyres under-inflated by 20 per cent will reduce its fuel economy by 3 per cent.
That’s because when tyres are under-inflated the rolling resistance is increased and more energy needed to make them turn, meaning the engine has to work harder.
More importantly, an under-inflated tyre can significantly compromise the car’s handling, even when reduced by just 6 psi, the typical amount.
Correct tyre pressure is essential for safe driving. As well as handling, grip can be seriously compromised if under-inflated. The possibility of a high-speed blow out is also increased.
Over-inflation can mean a less comfortable ride but more importantly a reduced area of contact with the road giving less grip. Both under- and over-inflation can also lead to accelerated wear on the tread and a shorter tyre life.
Meanwhile, drivers who fail to comply with the regulations face a fine of up to £2,500 and three penalty points for each illegal tyre.
The introduction of the Corporate Manslaughter Act in 2008 means that businesses can no longer afford to ignore the impact of driving in relation to health and safety in the workplace.
Also, under the Health and Safety Offences Act introduced in 2009, UK courts now have an even greater authority to prosecute businesses for committing offences such as fitting illegal tyres or faulty brakes. The maximum penalty is now £20,000.
“Businesses and individual drivers have a responsibility to check their tyres. Both face the prospect of harsh fines for driving with illegal tyres but more importantly drivers risk being involved in a serious accident,” added Jackson.
TyreSafe recommends that tyres are inspected at least once a month or before any long journey. This includes checking the air pressure, tread depth and overall condition.
The tyre safety information for fleets is available to view as a dedicated section on the TyreSafe website.