There has been an alarming increase in the number of vans on Britain’s roads being driven with low tread depths and other defects.
i247 Group, an outsourced driver support and asset management provider, says its figures suggest there has been a 10% rise over the past few years, with the proportion of LCVs having under two millimetres of tyre tread depth increasing from 30% in 2019 to 40% in 2023. There has also been a rising number of tyre defects leading to MOT failures on Class 5 vehicles such as minibuses with 13 or more seats as well as ambulances, it says.
David Legg, director of tyres at i247 Group, said:
We are really concerned about the rise we’re seeing in fleets operating with low levels of tyre tread with some at illegal levels. We know van fleets are under pressure right now but we’re urging fleets to give their drivers time to carry out critical tyre checks regularly.
Fleet operators have a duty to ensure vehicles are maintained in a roadworthy condition and drivers are also legally responsible for the condition of the vehicles they operate.
Drivers can be fined up to £300 and receive three penalty points or be taken to court if the offence is more serious.
Driving with heavily worn tyres affects a vehicle’s ability to brake efficiently and maintain sufficient surface grip during wet or winter conditions.
Low tread tyres are also more likely to suffer punctures and lose air pressure, which affects fuel economy and steering.
Vehicle checks should take place in the same way as any other job-critical tool before use. Fleets must ensure maintenance checks are being carried out. There are a number of tools and apps on the market to facilitate this which will help to ensure compliance and driver safety.