Many road traffic investigation officers, Vehicle Examiners, and solicitors will be familiar with the discussions concerning a maximum legal age for use on large tyres on vehicles. Surprisingly there has been no legal limit for any tyres but as from 1st February 2021 the maximum permitted age of front tyres on lorries and PSVs (buses, coaches) as well as tyres in all positions on minibuses will be 10 years. The current position of no age limit for tyres in any positions on cars and vans will continue, although there is an advisory limit of 10 years.
This legislation was triggered by my investigation of a 19½ year-old front tyre on a coach in 2012 and was bolstered by my investigation of an 18¼ year-old front tyre on a lorry in 2017; both tyres burst and caused loss of control resulting in multiple fatalities. DfT commissioned research by TRL (with extensive contribution from Smiths/RAPRA) at my urging, and there was a prolonged campaign by a mother of one of the coach fatalities, to try to reach a suitable maximum age. As with earlier research worldwide into car tyres, significant changes were found with ageing and whilst no clear-cut maximum age was established, the 10 year limit has been settled on.