Tyre Labelling: Safety Should be the Top Priority, says Kwik-Fit Fleet
The EU has agreed that all new tyres sold in Europe from November 1, 2012 onwards must be classified and labelled according to their fuel efficiency, wet grip and noise performance. Kwik-Fit Fleet comments that this regulation is intended to make fleet operators, company car and van drivers and private drivers aware of the individual performance characteristics of every single new tyre on sale – and the fast-fitter admonishes fleet managers not to skimp on safety or cost when the labelling initiative gets underway.
The tyre label, as you are most likely already well aware, will take on the shape and form of the European energy label and employ classes ranging from best performance (green ‘A’ class) to worst (red ‘G’ class). Besides indicating how much a tyre affects a car’s fuel efficiency, the label will also give information about its performance in wet conditions and its external rolling noise in decibels.
“We welcome the new regulations because fleet chiefs and drivers will be able to see at a glance the individual performance characteristics of each tyre, particularly in relation to fuel efficiency and safety,” commented Mike Wise, head of Kwik-Fit Fleet. “We expect vehicle manufacturers to want to fit the very best tyres in terms of safety and fuel efficiency to their vehicles on the production line. This is a strategy that we applaud.
“As tyres are the only part of a vehicle that is in contact with the road there should be no compromise on safety,” Wise continued. “Additionally, with tyres accounting for up to a quarter of the fuel consumption of a vehicle, good tyres are vital to reducing fuel and CO2 emissions.”
However, Kwik-Fit Fleet is concerned recession prompted purse string tightening may result in fleet decision-makers increasing their focus on cost management, and Wise believes the tyre labelling scheme could result in some operators opting for a lower performing class of tyre. “Occupational road risk management has been an agenda-topping issue for the entire fleet industry for many years and remains so,” he said. “While the fitting of a cheaper lower class of tyre may result in up-front cost savings, it will not meet the safety characteristics or fuel-efficiency of ‘A’ class tyres.
“Therefore, while we appreciate that fleet budgets must be kept under a tight rein, safety should be the top priority. Additionally, ‘A’ class tyres are likely to return improved MPG as well as have a longer life in comparison with a lower class of tyre in the hands of the ‘average’ driver,” Wise concluded.