The 2020 report on truck accidents released by National Transport Insurance says that more than half of all mechanical failures are related to tyres. Tyres are referred to as a cause in several sections of the report and it highlights an increase in losses from non-impact fires because of wheel end blazes.
In the report it says, ‘Examining the root cause of wheel end fires, the proportion of fires arising from tyre failures increased, from 30% in 2017 to 45% in 2019. In 2019 a smaller proportion of wheel-end fires resulted from wheel bearing failure.’
Steer tyre maintenance was highlighted as area of concern in the previous report after there was a significant increase in losses caused by mechanical failure from 2015 to 2017.
Industry sources suggested that pressure maintenance in steer tyres was always an area of discussion. Tyre manufacturers recommend pressures to maximise tyre performance. Truck manufacturers recommend tyres pressures based on the weight over the axle. Though drivers vary steer tyre pressures for comfort and operators don’t monitor closely enough.
The report doesn’t give detailed reasons for the tyre failures, or provide any suggestions for transport operators to reduce number of incidents. It does make a vague reference for the need to reform truck design or axle weight restrictions.