Driver checks still crucial in run-up to ‘intelligent’ tyres, says Venson
‘Intelligent’ tyres will revolutionise the fleet industry in coming years but tyre checks remain essential for safe driving in the interim.
The advice comes from Venson Automotive Solutions, which has published a free white paper that suggests company car and van drivers are failing to regularly check their tyres, which are often running on illegal tread depths.
About 40% of tyres across Venson’s leased and managed vehicles have to be replaced prematurely every year due to tyre damage, with a bias towards light commercial vehicles, which account for around 60% of the company’s fleet.
Failing to check tyres not only leaves drivers at risk of a £2,500 fine and three points on their licence per tyre, but could also put them and other road users in danger.
However, the ‘Tyres: From F1 Motorsport to Fleet’ white paper says scientific solutions are on the horizon. Tyre manufacturers are ploughing millions of pounds into creating ‘intelligent tyres’ with the aim to remove the responsibility of checking tyre condition away from operators and drivers.
Venson’s investigation into the future of the tyre also explores how QR codes engraved on tyres may aid fleet tyre management, and potential solutions for heavier plug-in vehicles which are putting more pressure on tyres.
In the meantime, tyre industry recommendations are to check for excessive and uneven tread wear, damage and pressure every two weeks. Checks should be made while the steering wheel is on full lock, to check across the whole tyre width, which should have a minimum tread depth of 1.6mm. Even at this tread depth the stopping distance is double that of a brand-new tyre.
Gil Kelly, operations director, Venson Automotive Solutions, said: “Tyres with a brain may seem a long way off but they are set to become a reality and will give the industry masses of information designed to maximise tyre longevity and reduce maintenance costs; music to the ears of any fleet manager. In the meantime though, it’s back to basics. While the pot-holed condition of the UK’s roads does no-one any favours, tyre damage is often due to driver-induced errors, like kerbing tyres. That’s why it’s vital that fleets impress the importance of tyre checks on their drivers.”
To download the Venson Automotive Solutions white paper for free, click here.