Study finds one in four tyres under-inflated

Highways Reporters

More than a quarter of Britain’s cars have at least one under-inflated tyre at any one time, according to data collected by technology firm WheelRight.

The company carried out a tyre safety pilot study in conjunction with Welcome Break Services and backed by Highways England on the UK’s M6.

WheelRight’s drive-over technology has taken nearly 155,000 readings since the pilot launched in March 2015 at Welcome Break, Keele Services. The trial was part of a year-long study into driver attitudes and tyre pressure awareness levels among car and commercial vehicle drivers in the UK.

The ‘drive-over’ system generates tangible, easy-to-read, accurate information on motorists tyre pressures.

According to figures released by the Road Safety Observatory in April 2014, the UK currently sees approximately 25 deaths and 1,500 serious injuries yearly due to poorly inflated or defective tyres. Furthermore, Highways England data reveals that 21% of all breakdowns that occur could be attributed to a wheel or tyre defect.

WheelRight’s own data, collated from the thousands of pressure readings taken during the course of the pilot, found that HGVs are typically running with at least one under-inflated tyre at any one time. Meanwhile, more than a quarter of Britain's cars have at least one tyre that is dangerously under-inflated.

Rod McKie, CEO of Keele Services, said: “We thoroughly enjoyed working with Highways England and WheelRight on the trial of the tyre pressure service. It was great to see customers getting involved and ensuring their vehicles were safe to drive. While our partnership with WheelRight was also acknowledged as a trial period only, we will watch the scheme’s development with interest.”

Keele Services in Staffordshire was selected to host the tyre pressure pilot because Highways England incident figures show that this area of the M6 is prone to tyre-related breakdowns and incidents. Thousands of visiting drivers are now on the road to better tyre pressures, with 10% of motorists returning for repeat readings from the system during the pilot’s duration.

Following the successful pilot project at Keele, WheelRight is currently in discussion with several parties in the UK, continental Europe and the USA, who are interested in adopting the tyre pressure monitoring technology.

John Catling, chief executive of WheelRight, added: “We would like to thank Highways England and Welcome Break for their support in enabling our pilot to take place. The year-long test at Keele really proved the concept could work in a real-world situation, giving potential users confidence in the reliability and accuracy of our award-winning technology.”
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