Hauliers could prevent thousands of punctures by simply spending a few minutes checking their yards for bolts, nails and screws, according to Bridgestone.
This is the finding on the tyre manufacturer’s Fleet Debris Study, a two-year research into debris-related punctures across five of its biggest fleet customers in England.
Using overhead satellite heat maps and physical daily checks, Bridgestone found 504 potential puncture-inducing items in the yards. Of these, 102 were high-risk, 98 medium-risk and 300 low-risk. Bridgestone says this validates the findings of its 2018 Tyre Debris Study Report, which found that 56% of the tyres analysed had failed due to road hazards including penetrations due to sharp objects.
Bridgestone’s north region technical manager Gary Powell, who headed-up the Fleet Debris Study, says the largest amount of debris accumulated across the five fleets were in the vehicle washing areas, presumably due to parts becoming dislodges while washed. Another high-risk area was loading/unloading bays, which he believes could be the result of drivers sweeping debris off their vehicles.
He is urging commercial fleets to invest in magnetic road sweepers, and carry out daily visual inspections of their yards to reduce the risks, so potentially increasing driver safety, and saving both time and money.
Powell said: “We’re extremely proud of this study, as it gives the biggest insight yet into the risks that are present on forecourts every single day. The aim was to determine the amount of debris present in fleet depots and to ascertain the risk and we believe we have a body of work that removes any ambiguity when it comes to commercial fleet yard management.
“Higher amounts of debris collected at some of the depots inspected could be attributed to the lack of good housekeeping and tyre husbandry practices. It was noted that depots which employed a road-sweeper, were successful at significantly reducing the amount of debris and specifically High-Risk debris items like bolts and nails.”
Mark Cartwright, head of commercial vehicle incident prevention at National Highways added: “Just as charity starts at home then puncture prevention also clearly starts at the yard! This report is so valuable in drawing the attention of truck and van operators and owners to their responsibilities in ensuring they aren’t damaging their tyres before joining our roads. We would strongly encourage operators to ensure their tyre damage isn’t self-inflicted.”