Michelin has become involved with a project that aims to reduce the number of road deaths in developing countries. The scheme, implemented by the Global Road Safety Partnership will see the tyre manufacturer working together with Shell, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Renault and Toyota to focus on the issue of road safety.
According to the World Health Organisation’s statistics, if present trends continue, road accidents will have increased by 65 per cent in 15 years time.
Further results from the TIC’s 2004 tyre safety campaign show a four per cent increase, to 17 per cent, in the number of defective tyres in use on the roads of Leicestershire.
In 2003 Leicestershire recorded that 13 per cent of vehicles checked had at least one tyre at or below the 1.6mm legal requirement. The national average is 12 per cent.
Leicestershire Constabulary’s road safety officer, PC John Budulis said: “I am very disappointed that so many people put not only their own lives at risk, but many other people’s by driving about on defective tyres. It only takes a few seconds to check the condition of your tyres, but very few people take the time to do so. Leicestershire Police are committed to making our roads safer and will continue to enforce the tyre legislation.”
A record number of radio stations are taking part in this year’s Scottish tyre safety campaign. 18 local and national Scottish radio stations are supporting this year’s tyre safety initiative by echoing the TIC’s tyre safety messages as part of a “down the line” radio promotion.
As part of the NTDA’s series of 75th anniversary celebrations, association chairman, Martin Rowlands, and director, Richard Edy invited NTDA members to ‘walk the halls of power.’
On a sweltering midsummer’s evening the Houses of Parliament provided the backdrop for NTDA members to rub shoulders with parliamentarians. The evening reception was held at the invitation of David Lidington, Member of Parliament for the NTDA’s home constituency, Alylesbury.
In their welcoming speeches Mr Lidington and Mr Rowlands encouraged dialogue between the industry and government. “We value our relationship with both government MPs and the civil service and will continue to represent our members interests on government working groups covering scrap tyre disposal and road safety. As one of the guest MPs said: ‘it is important that a trade association has a voice and that we parliamentarians have an organisation with whom we can talk’,” said Martin Rowlands.
Throughout the evening guests had the opportunity to network with influential members of the tyre business and, in chairman Martin Rowlands’ words, “bend the ear of politicians, with a particular interest in our industry.”
When a concept, like Tyre Pressure Monitoring Systems (TPMS), is still relatively new, it means that developments are more clearly noticeable. Even in a few months it is possible to trace the concept’s development.
There are two versions of this technology; direct and indirect measuring systems. As you would expect, both have advantages and disadvantages. Direct systems are substantially more expensive but more precise than indirect systems. Indirect systems are cheaper, but less accurate. These systems were originally based on the ABS infrastructure, but are now also based on ESP. Indirect systems cross-link with the vehicle’s electronics so they cannot be installed after manufacture. Conversely, direct systems are components of the wheel and therefore can be re-tooled relatively straightforwardly in the aftermarket.
It is not yet clear which system will be accepted as the standard, something that is largely to do with American legislation. The American road safety authority, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), will have to decide which criteria will govern the regulation of these devices before they can become components in newly certified vehicles in the USA.
In the past decisions had to be taken back because interest groups opposed them. Sometimes representatives of the other competing technology protested, sometimes consumer federations did, and on other occasions the automakers makers used their influence. Again and again new arguments arose, most of which contained at least a few good ideas. The consumer federations, for example, argued that drivers have a right to the best technical solution, which supports direct measurement. The manufacturers, on the other hand, referred to the fact that, in the US, ABS is still far from penetrating the market as well as the technology has in Europe (100 per cent of new vehicles produced in Europe are now fitted with ABS). If one side decides to support indirect measuring systems, ABS has to be introduced at the same time, which gives significantly more leverage to the safety argument. In short the decision remains up in the air.
Bosch has been presented with the Prince Michael International Road Safety Award for Driver and Passenger Safety for its development of Electronic Stability Programme (ESP), which prevents vehicles getting out of control. ESP is the latest evolution in electronic braking systems, which started with the introduction of ABS 25 years ago.
Ford, last week, reached a settlement with Tennessee Attorney general and 52 other jurisdictions regarding alleged deceptive trade practices relating to the sales of Ford SUVs. The Attorneys alleged that Ford failed to disclose a known safety risk concerning tyre failures with certain Firestone ATX and Wilderness AT tyres which came equipped on some Ford SUVs. The State also alleged that Ford’s advertising misled consumers as to the safe use of Ford SUVs. Other allegations included certain aftermarket tyres sold through Ford’s “Around the Wheel” program were the same tyres as the tyres that came equipped on Ford SUVs when that was not true. Ford denied all such allegations. However, they have agreed to settle nonetheless.
The National Tyre Distributors Association has announced that, following the success of last year’s inaugural TyreCheck Safety campaign, the association has joined forces with road safety lobby group BRAKE for this year’s event. TyreCheck 2001 will run alongside the BRAKE Road Safety Week (31st March to 6th April) and is open to all UK tyre retailers. The 2000 TyreCheck found that 10 per cent of tyres examined were below the 1.6mm legal minimum tread depth.
Every so often, Continental Tyre UK assembles a panel of interested parties to talk through a subject of interest. The most recent ‘Round Table’ was on the subject of truck safety, particularly that of tyres. Roadside checks on trucks seem to reveal a story of tyre neglect, with many tyres showing damage which would be obvious to the most cursory examination, implying that nobody bothers to look. The legal minimum tread depth for trucks in the UK is 1mm, and has been so for the past three decades. Conti is not convinced that raising the limit to 1.6mm would have a significant effect on safety. Most good fleet operators change tyres at 2mm anyway, which is what Conti recommends. Roadside fitter safety was discussed – a dangerous job made even more so by the extensive use of the mobile phone, which removes the police from the equation. If the police do not know of a breakdown, they cannot provide safety backup for the fitter. Like many other companies, Continental provides a complete tyre management service for fleets, taking on all responsibility for tyre-related matters. This not only means peace of mind for the operator, but should ensure better maintained, safer tyres. Full details of the Round Table discussion can be found in TYRES & ACCESSORIES 6/2000.
The contact area between tyre and road surface is generally compared to the size of a postcard. An area, whose smallness bears no relation to its importance as the central spot where the interaction between motorcar and supporting ground takes place. Generations of experts have thought long and hard how to optimise this A6-sized contact area in the interest of road safety. The 21st and 22nd October saw the beginning of a new round in the eternal quest for more knowledge. On these dates the seventh conference in twelve years of the Association of German Engineers (VDI) took place under the headline “Reifen – Fahrwerk – Fahrbahn” (“Tyres – Chassis – Road Surface”) at the Hanover Congress Centre. As at several earlier meetings, the wheel was not studied in isolation but as the link between chassis and road surface. The central theme of the meeting was therefore the interaction between those three components. Each lecture or discussion session consisted of three half-hour presentations grouped together under subject matters such as “Reciprocal influences between tyres and road surface”, “Tyre noise”, “Measuring and devising models”, “Warning and run-flat systems”, “Vibration and comfort” as well as “Chassis concepts”. Almost 225 VDI members from the sectors of research and manufacturing had accepted the invitation. Apart from many car manufacturers the tyre industry was also well represented in Hanover and thanks to the disciplined lecturing techniques and to well-informed and motivated questions from the public the conference was able to live up as a genuine discussion forum to a large extent.