Commercial fleets are being urged to check yards for dangerous debris after a survey found a high level of punctures caused by on-site litter.
The two-year Fleet Debris Study by tyre manufacturer Bridgestone looked at the source of debris-related punctures across five of its biggest fleet customers in England.
Using overhead satellite heat maps and daily checks, Bridgestone discovered 504 items of debris across the five sites, 200 of which were rated as medium to high risk hazards and potential sources of punctures.
The report follows an earlier study into debris conducted by Bridgestone in 2018, which found that 56% of the tyres analysed had failed due to road hazards including punctures caused by sharp objects.
This latest study found that the highest amount of debris accumulated across the five fleets was in the vehicle washing areas, which the report said could be the result of parts becoming dislodged as vehicles are washed.
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It also found that “considerable” debris was also found in loading and unloading bays, which Bridgestone believes could be the result of drivers sweeping debris off their vehicles.
In addition the research found that depots that didn’t use a road sweeper as part of their housekeeping practices had the highest number of debris collected.
Gary Powell, Bridgestone technical manager for the north, headed-up the Fleet Debris Study. He is hoping the findings will prompt commercial fleets to implement some simple inspection measures to keep their drivers safe and make significant savings - both in terms of expense and time.
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, National Highways head of commercial vehicle incident prevention, said: “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.”