Companies are introducing compulsory tyre safety checks to their fleets in record numbers amid concerns at the level of unsafe work vehicles on the roads.
Industry estimates suggest that up to 800,000 fleet vehicles are running on at least one unsafe tyre.
Research by Kwik-Fit Fleet based on hundreds of thousands of tyre checks carried out in the past two years suggests that 25% of inspected vehicles require immediate attention, usually because tyre tread depths are illegal.
The current fine for driving on illegal tyres is £2,500 per tyre and three points per tyre on the driver’s licence.
Kwik-Fit has seen demand for independent tyre checks soar and is expecting to carry out 250,000 this year, up from 220,000 in 2007.
As a result, it is adding 30 vehicles to its 200-vehicle van fleet to cope with demand.
One key reason for the increase is the Corporate Manslaughter Act, which comes into force in April.
Companies want to prove they are meeting their duty of care to employees by keeping them safe on the road.
Among companies signing up for the regular tyre safety checks is Crewe-based mobile phone company, the 20:20 Mobile Group, which operates 147 vehicles.
Andrea Shipman, the company’s assistant manager (fleet and benefits), said: “Not only is it vital from a duty of care perspective, but there is no lost time with staff having to go to centres to have the checks carried out.”
The company employs more than 1,050 people and tyre safety checks are part of the benefits package that is available to all staff as part of its suite of affinity programmes.
Cheadle-based Trinity-Chiesi Pharmaceuticals ensures tyre safety checks are undertaken on approximately 40 head office-based company cars every two months.
In addition, Kwik-Fit Fleet mobile technicians undertake checks on up to 250 vehicles driven by staff and other people working on behalf of the company when they all attend twice-a-year UK conferences.
Angela Hart, fleet manager, said: “From my perspective as fleet manager, the audit trail these checks create is of huge significance in terms of demonstrating our compliance with our duty of care responsibilities towards our drivers.”