Highways England is undertaking live tests of a technology that could help reduce commercial vehicle tyre failures by up to 75% on the country’s strategic road network.
Having first assessed a pilot installation of WheelRight’s drive-over tyre management system at Keele Services (M6 southbound), Highways England is now running year-long tests of the technology with:
• John Lewis Partnership – Milton Keynes
• AW Jenkinson Transport – Penrith
• DVSA – Cuerden (M62)
Installed at each location in February, the tyre inspection system is already proving its significant potential as a fleet management tool within the HGV sector and assisting enforcement.
The technology is a drive-over tyre pressure, tyre tread and vehicle weighing system. As drivers approach the sensors, an ANPR (automatic number plate recognition) camera reads and records the vehicle registration and a second camera photographs the vehicle.
The purpose of the equipment is to provide information to the driver or the fleet or transport manager, and not to say whether the vehicle is or is not roadworthy.
Data released by Highways England last year confirmed that almost three quarters of commercial vehicle motorway incidents caused by tyre failure could be prevented if fleets carried out simple, regular checks on tyre condition. Better tyre management would also reduce casualties caused by tyre failures on England’s motorway network every year.
Between 1 April 2015 and 31 August 2016, some 58,612 tyre-related breakdown incidents were recorded on the strategic road network. Of these, 34% involved commercial vehicles.
Highways England is now urging HGV fleets to recognise the opportunity provided by technology to improve tyre management. Already being adopted by the most forward-thinking fleets in the UK and overseas, Highways England is supporting several operators to install the technology at their depots to demonstrate how powerful the system is.
“It’s a proven technology that fleet managers really need to test for themselves. In just a few months, drivers and fleet managers from John Lewis, AW Jenkinson and the DVSA are already seeing the positive impact this system is having on their tyre management and inspection,” Highways England’s Incident Prevention Team Leader John Walford said. “It’s making our roads safer, reducing operational costs and improving fleet efficiencies.”
WheelRight’s Chief Executive John Catling added: “These three pilots put the UK at the forefront of the transport industry, setting new safety standards that other road management bodies and transport planners across the globe will be keen to adopt. I am confident that once fleet operators see the benefits of the technology, they’ll never go back to unreliable, manual tyre checking.”