Labour MEPs urge EU to take action to improve tyre safety across Europe

This week, as part of Road Safety Week, I hosted a series of meetings in the European Parliament on the issue of tyre safety. The meetings looked at how Europe can act on this issue and introduce legislation to deal with aged and secondhand tyres and included key MEPs on the Transport Committee and representatives of the European Commission and the European Transport Safety Council.

I hosted the meetings with Steve Rotheram, Labour MP for Liverpool Walton who has been campaigning on this issue in the UK.

The need for these meetings grew from a horrific accident in September 2012, when a bus carrying people back from Bestival on the Isle of White, crashed near the Hindhead Tunnel, Surrey. There were three victims: Michael Molloy, 18, from Woolton; Kerry Ogden, 23, from Maghull; and driver Colin Daulby, 63, from Warrington.

The cause of the accident was an exploding tyre which made the coach veer to the left, mount the embankment, crash through a fence and into a tree.

Michael’s mum, Frances Molloy, has been campaigning for laws preventing the use of old tyres since an inquest found the crash was caused by the blowout of a 19-year-old tyre.

Steve Rotheram joined her cause and has been championing this issue at UK level ever since. He has been working, along with Louise Ellman, MP for Liverpool Riverside, to put pressure on the Government to commission research into the effect that the age of a tyre has on road traffic accidents and whether we need to introduce a maximum life span for tyres.

In my speech opening the meeting, I emphasised that there is currently no mention of the lifespan of tyres in European legislation. I believe that this is something that needs to change.

I have called on the Commission to publish a study on tyre safety and to look at issues of tyres that are of a significant age or have already been used.

With our busy road networks, tyre safety across different member states, especially for vehicles that cross borders, is a crucial issue that we need to get right to prevent further tragedies from occurring on our roads.

This is an area where the European Parliament could really make a difference to peoples’ lives and I am delighted to champion this cause.