Firefighters and Highways England staff from Cheshire and
Lancashire have joined forces in a ground-breaking partnership to help reduce
deaths, injuries and incident-related congestion on the region’s roads.
In a national project being trialled in the North West,
Highways England is working with fire and rescue services to offer free tyre
safety checks and advice alongside a long-running programme of fire station
charity car washes.
As part of the pilot project, Cheshire Fire and Rescue
Service, Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service and The Fire Fighters Charity have
allowed Highways England traffic officers and other staff to run the tyre checking
service at several car wash events - with the latest at Lancashire’s Fulwood
Highways England is working to reduce the number of people
killed or seriously injured on England’s motorways and major A roads by 40% by
2020 and said focusing on tyre safety made an important contribution. The
tie-up with firefighters and the established charity car wash events is seen as
a friendly and informal way of reaching drivers to spread the tyre safety
tuart Lovatt, Highways England’s road safety lead, said: “Highways
England and fire and rescue services have a mutual interest in reducing the
number of incidents caused by poorly-inflated or damaged tyres which could be
picked up by simple and regular checks. The Fire Fighters Charity’s
National Car Wash programme is now huge - involving some 20,000 vehicles across
more than 600 events annually. We think it’s a great way of reaching out to
potentially thousands of drivers to check their tyres for free and give them
safety advice while they wait for their cars to be washed.
“The feedback from the first two events we’ve run at
Frodsham and Ellesmere Port fire stations has been really positive and after the
visit to Fulwood we’ll be assessing whether we can extend the idea right across
Firefighters are among the emergency service workers called
out to tyre-related incidents on the motorway and major A road network while
Highways England traffic officers and colleagues have to manage the congestion
caused by breakdowns, punctures and road traffic collisions.
- There were 80,000 tyre incidents on
England’s network of motorways and major A roads between 2013 and 2015
- Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service was
called out to more than 4,500 vehicle incidents between 2015 and 2017
- Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service was
called out to 2,866 vehicle incidents over the same period
- 27% of vehicles have at least one
- 40% of road traffic accidents caused by
vehicle defects are tyre-related.
Tony Crook, an area manager at Lancashire Fire and Rescue
Service, said: “We attend more than
1,000 road traffic collisions each year and some of these could have been
prevented if the vehicles involved were fitted with legal tyres.
“Our firefighters see first-hand the dangers of driving
poorly-maintained vehicles and we hope that this new partnership with Highways
England will result in preventing crashes and even saving lives.”
Watch manager Andy Gray, a road safety officer at Cheshire
Fire and Rescue Service, said: “Tyre treads are designed to give good grip on
wet roads. As the tread wears down the tyre loses the ability of good grip. It
is essential that people regularly check their tyres. Many tyres only get
checked at their yearly MoT inspection and then subsequently fail, resulting in
a vehicle that could well have been driving with unsafe tyres for some time.
“This partnership not only benefits people immediately with
the tyre checks but crews will show and educate them on how to check their
tyres in the future.”