Cheshire firefighters and Highways England team up to offer free tyre safety checks
The initiative aims to reduce deaths and injuries on the county’s roads
Firefighters and Highways England staff from Cheshire and Lancashire have joined forces in a ground-breaking partnership.
The aim is to help reduce deaths, injuries and incident-related congestion on the region’s roads.
In a national project being trialled in the north-west the government company 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 project fire and rescue services in the two areas along with the Fire Fighters Charity have allowed Highways England traffic officers and other staff to run the tyre checking service at several car wash events.
Highways England says it is working to reduce the number of people killed or seriously injured on England’s motorways and major A roads by 40% by 2020.
Focusing on tyre safety makes an important contribution and the tie-up with firefighters and the charity car washes is seen as a friendly and informal way of reaching drivers to spread the tyre safety message.
Stuart Lovatt, Highways England’s road safety chief, 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.”
He added: “The feedback from the first two events we’ve run at Frodsham and Ellesmere Port fire stations has been really positive.”
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 and 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.”
He added: “This partnership not only benefits people immediately with the tyre checks but crews show and educate them on how to check their tyres in the future.
“The Fire Fighters Charity also benefits from the public’s kind donations from the car wash events.”
The free hi-tech tyre checks use 3D tyre tread checking scanners linked to an app on a smart device. The scanners allow a quick and easy way to check tyre tread levels and provide instant feedback and advice to motorists via a print out.
Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service was called out to 2,866 vehicle incidents between 2015 and 2017.
Highways England says it will be assessing whether it can extend the idea across the country.