PROSPER MAGAZINE: DIGITAL EDITION
NATIONAL EXPRESS WELCOMES TYRE BAN - BUT WARNS MORE NEEDS TO BE DONE
The Managing Director of National Express Accessible Transport (NEAT) has welcomed new legislation banning the use of tyres over 10 years old on buses, coaches, minibuses and HGVs. However, he wants the legislation to go further.
On Monday 1 February 2021, new legislation came into force banning tyres over 10 years old on buses, coaches, minibuses and HGVs.
The ban reduces the risk of a tyre being significantly degraded inside so that it is unsafe - but that damage is not visible from an external inspection. It does not, however, include rear tyres fitted next to each other in twin configuration at the rear of buses, coaches and HGVs.
Vinay Parmar, Managing Director of National Express Accessible Transport, told Prosper, “All transport providers should do what is right and what is safe, not just the minimum that is required. If I’m getting on a vehicle or if my own nine-year-old daughter is, I want to know that that vehicle is as safe as it can be.
“As a trusted and responsible transport provider, National Express recognises the huge responsibility placed on us in providing the safest transport for all.
“It doesn’t matter whether it’s our home-to-school services for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities, our keyworkers, families and friends on our local bus services across the West Midlands, or anybody travelling across the UK on our coach services.
“At National Express we already had a policy in place setting a limit of a maximum age of 10 years on any tyres we use, whatever their configuration, and we’re working to reduce that further. Many of our tyres get nowhere near 10 years old.
“Everybody has the right to be able to make the safest choices. Nothing is more important to us than the safety of our customers who use our services and our people that drive and deliver them. That is why we’ll continue to do all that we can to drive out harm from our roads.”
The tyre ban 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 Bestival music festival on the Isle of Wight. Three people lost their lives and others suffered life-changing injuries. The cause of that crash was found to be a tyre that was nearly 20 years old.
National Express was the first company to support the Tyred Campaign in 2017, demonstrating its leadership and commitment to raising awareness of safety and essential standards around tyre safety in order to ensure safe and accessible transport for all.
Vinay added: “This change in the law is welcome news. It brings with it 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.
“But we agree with the Tyred Campaign - this should be a total ban. We’ll continue to support them in campaigning for this to happen as soon as possible.”
Frances Molloy, whose son, Michael, died in the 2012 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 transport operators such as National Express, which was the first operator to publicly back the Tyred campaign. Their support was a major turning point in bringing this law into place.”
In addition to its existing policy setting a maximum age of 10 years on any tyres used on its own buses, coaches and minibuses, National Express demands the same from its partner operators. Drivers are required to check the vehicle tyres as part of their daily walkaround checks and regular checks of tyre condition and age are also carried out during maintenance inspections.
The transport operator’s approach to managing safety and risk has won numerous accolades, including the bus business being judged the safest public transport company of all those audited across the world by the British Safety Council.
National Express has also invested in technological innovations such as Lytx DriveCam across its bus, coach and minibus operations. The impressive kit monitors driver behaviour and records any incidences such as harsh braking or steering so that feedback can be provided in coaching conversations that continue to improve driving standards.
To find out more about the Tyred Campaign visit www.tyred.org.uk