The government is set to ban the use of old tyres on heavy vehicles such as buses and trucks, the Department for Transport (DfT) has announced. The new rules will make it illegal for any lorry, bus, coach or minibus to have tyres aged 10 years or older, amid fears older tyres are more likely to fail.

According to the DfT, the ban follows an “extensive investigation” into the subject of ageing tyres, as well as “determined” campaigning. In particular, the DfT paid tribute to the efforts of Frances Molloy, whose son, Michael, died in a coach crash in 2012. The vehicle had a 19-year-old tyre fitted to the front axle.

Now, though, the government is taking action with the new law, which looks set to arrive later this year. The 10-year limit, the DfT claims, has been chosen because the government’s research shows older tyres “suffer corrosion”, which could cause blowouts on the road.

To help enforce the new rule, the authorities will also be publishing “secondary legislation” this autumn, which will see tyres marked with their date of manufacture to show they conform to the new law. This will also apply to so-called retreaded tyres, which will have to bear the date of retreading.

The government will ask the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) to continue checking the age of vehicles’ tyres as part of the “routine” roadside enforcement practices, while checks on tyre age will be added to the annual MoT test criteria.

Double decker buses in London

Baroness Vere, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Transport, said the new rule would instill motorists with “confidence” that trucks and other heavy vehicles were “fit for use”.

“In the same way that you wouldn’t drive a car with faulty brakes, ensuring your tyres are fit for purpose is crucial in making every journey safer,” she said. “Taking this step will give drivers across the country confidence their lorries, buses and coaches are truly fit for use – a safety boost for road users everywhere.

“This change is in no small way the result of years of campaigning, particularly from Frances Molloy, to whom I thank and pay tribute.”

Mechanic inspecting HGV tyre

The news follows the government’s two-year road safety action plan, which set out 70 ways the UK could improve its track record on safety. In recent years, the authorities have been criticised for failing to significantly reduce the number of people killed on our roads each year. The figures have remained at roughly the same level for around a decade.

Bald tyre with very little tread remaining