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Tyres over 10 years old on heavy vehicles to be banned from February 2021

road safety lorry tyres being repaired in a workshop


Earlier this year, the Government announced that tyres aged over 10 years will be banned on the front axles of lorries, buses, coaches and all single wheels of minibuses (9 to 16 passenger seats).

The legislation takes effect on 1 February 2021. We will be enforcing the legislation at roadside checks along with the vehicle annual test.

In their Moving On Blog,  the Traffic Commissioners for Great Britain  announced an update to their Guide to Managing Roadworthiness to include the change in the Construction and Use Regulations for rules relating to tyres over 10 years old and manufacturer date codes.

From 1 February 2021 Construction and Use Regulations will not allow tyres aged over 10 years old to be used on the front steered axles of HGVs, buses, coaches or all single wheels fitted to a minibus (9 to 16 passenger seats). So, if used it will mean a dangerous fail at annual test and a prohibition.

If inspected at a DVSA enforcement check, tyres aged over 10 years old found on these positions will be considered dangerous and attract an ‘S’ marked immediate prohibition notice.

It will also be a requirement for the manufacturer’s date code to be legible on all tyres fitted to HGVs, trailers over 3.5 tonnes, buses, coaches and minibuses. If a tyre is a retread then the manufacturer date is taken from when the retread was carried out.

If the date code on the tyre is not legible on the affected wheel positions

Tyres without a legible manufacture date code, fitted to the front steered axle of HGVs, buses, coaches or single wheels fitted to a minibus will fail the annual test.

If found at a DVSA enforcement check this would attract a delayed prohibition.

However, if there are also obvious signs of deterioration of the tyre the action will be increased to an ‘S’ marked immediate prohibition notice.

If the date code on the tyre is not legible on other wheel positions

If the manufacturer date code is not legible on other wheel positions, this will also be an offence and a minor fail result will be recorded at annual test. This would not prevent the issue of a pass certificate but there would be an expectation that the tyre is replaced.

If the date code is not legible at an enforcement check an inspection notice would be issued and again, we would expect the tyre to be replaced.

Using tyres more than 10 years old on other wheel positions 

It’s the operator’s responsibility to make sure they have an adequate tyre management system in place and that they regularly consider the risks associated with using older tyres, even if the law permits.

Where tyres more than 10 years old are legally used on other wheel positions, their age should be recorded and a specific risk assessment is completed, that considers the distance, speed and loading conditions that the vehicle will operate under (for example, operating only in urban areas).

Using old tyres on historic vehicles 

The new regulations exempt non-commercial vehicles aged 40 years and older from these requirements.

However, you should get all tyres of all ages regularly inspected by a competent person. This should be part of your tyre management and vehicle maintenance system.

Even if an older tyre appears safe, you need to assess and manage any risks associated with its use. A short journey at a low speed when the vehicle is lightly loaded, poses different risks to those involving long journeys, high-speed journeys, or use while the vehicle is laden.

Reporting to the Traffic Commissioner

Operators have asked if they will be reported to the Traffic Commissioner if they are caught  using tyres more than 10 years old or without a legible manufacturer date code?

The DVSA have responded that where they find a driver or operator with a tyre more than 10 years old or without a date code, which attracts an ‘S’ marked prohibition notice, they will follow that up with the operator first.

If the operator can not show us that they are  adequately managing their tyres, consideration will be given to referring them to the Traffic Commissioner.

Further details can be found on the Moving On Blog here.

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