Road Debris Responsible For More Than Half Of UK’s Tyre Punctures

Wed 2nd May 2018

A major new survey by a major tyre brand and Highways England has revealed that 56 per cent of punctures and blowouts are caused by objects cutting tyres whilst driving at speeds of 60-70mph.

The shocking research is another damning verdict on the state of Britain’s roads, with the UK government and local councils coming under fire for the poorly maintained state of the road network, including record levels of potholes.

The research, which was carried out by Bridgestone and Highways England, says that more than 30 people were killed on the UK’s motorways in 2016 due to illegal or faulty tyres. Though Highways England is the Government agency responsible for maintaining the road networks, it surprising that they reveal figures which criticise their own work, even if they claim that they have a ‘vigorous inspection and sweeping regime’ in place.
The survey suggests that the cost to the economy of a two-hour delay on a busy stretch of motorway following a two-lance closure stands at £135,360, whilst a three-lane closure for four hours a extraordinary cost of £1,488,960.

“England’s motorways are the safest in the world but we’re determined to reduce the number of people killed and seriously injured on them,” said Highways England’s Head of Road Safety, Richard Leonard.

“This important research confirms our view that road users must play a bigger role and get into the habit of checking tyre pressures and tread depths and looking out for nails and other debris stuck in tyres before setting out on journeys. These simple checks could save lives.”
With much of the focus of the research on drivers looking after their own tyres, a seperate survey from the AA paints a different picture, with nine out of 10 drivers fearing that their vehicle could be damaged due to poor road conditions.

RAC spokesman Simon Williams said: "In 2017, RAC patrols dealt with around 350,000 tyre-related breakdowns, a large proportion of which were punctures. Repairing a puncture at the side of the road, especially on a motorway, is treacherous work. More should be done to ensure debris is cleared up, or removed, so that road users don’t have to unwittingly suffer the consequences."