Safety-related Aspects of Tyre Use

EU-wide safety effects of tyre choice and use: the influence of weather, tread depth, Tyre Pressure Monitoring Systems (TPMS) and consumer information

The European Commission adopted the Policy Orientations on Road Safety for 2010-2020 in July 2010. One of the strategic objectives identified by the Commission is the enforcement of road safety rules. In its report on road safety, the European Parliament emphasises a harmonised approach on winter tyres for “passenger cars, buses, and lorries in the EU regions, taking into account the weather conditions in each Member State”. It also called upon the Commission to propose “common standards for vehicle tyres, in particular for tread depth and tyre pressure” and “specifications for Tyre Pressure Monitoring Systems (TPMS) with a view to ensure that tyres are used properly”.

The main conclusions of the study are as follows:

  • As a result of the analysis of laboratory tests, winter tyres have an improved performance relevant for road safety, compared to summer tyres, when used in low temperatures and snow and or ice road conditions. Accident data partially supports this finding. The most important element for improvement would be the use of a common standard for winter tyres in all Member States, based on the current 3PMS approval test, which provides clear approval criteria for winter tyres.
  • Technical performance testing indicates an improved safety level on wet roads whith increased tread depth. The results of the study suggest that 4 mm could be a suitable level based on accident analysis and existing legislation in Member States for cars, and 1.6 mm for trucks.
  • Poor maintenance of inflation pressure can lead to underinflated tyres, which is linked to reduced road safety. TPMS systems can prevent underinflation, but the user is required to undertake appropriate actions. As such, consumer awareness remains very important and the provision of free air filling facilities, at different locations (petrol stations, service stations, etc.) should be considered.

TML was responsible for the data collection and analysis of collected data in relation to road safety. For all main elements of the study (harmonised tyre use, tyre pressure, tread depth, and consumer awareness), TML performed a comprehensive SCBA to compare different potential measures. As a result, together with TNO, 10 policy actions were proposed.

reports

The final report can be downloaded here or from the website of the European Commission: http://ec.europa.eu/transport/road_safety/pdf/vehicles/study_tyres_2014.pdf

period

2013-2014

funded by

European Commission, DG MOVE

partners

TNO

researchers

Lars Akkermans, Eef Delhaye, Bruno Van Zeebroeck

contact

Lars Akkermans

+32 16 31.77.34
reference: 13.27