Photo: Road Safety Authority Ireland

Update: RSA Ireland responds to questions sparked by Facebook post on walkaround checks

A Facebook post published by Ireland's Road Safety Authority (RSA) last month prompted questions from lorry drivers regarding how daily walkaround checks should be conducted. In response to this, Trans.INFO made a media request to the RSA for further clarity. We have now received comment from the RSA and those already familiar with the case can find the RSA's statement in full at the end of the article.

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The Facebook post was published by the RSA on Monday October 24th and contained the image above.

The photo was accompanied by the following caption:

“RSA Vehicle inspectors found a heavy commercial vehicle with a fully loaded trailer tyre with a split on the inside wall. The vehicle was detained at checkpoint until tyre replace. It’s important to check the full tyre and not just the front and sides.”

The suggestion that drivers should check the “full tyre and not just the front and the sides” is one that understandably drew the attention of lorry drivers.

In the video above, produced the RSA, the Irish Police and the Irish Health and Safety Authority (HSA), there is absolutely no suggestion that lorry drivers should have to make such thorough checks.

On the subject of tyres, the official Garda walkaround checks guide states:

“Tyres should have sufficient tread and should not be worn to the extent that the tread indicator contacts the road surface. Check thread depth with a simple gauge.”

Again, there is no reference to any requirement to check the full tyre. The same is true on this guide on the RSA website.

The law mentions nothing of this requirement either.

SI No 348 of 2013 – Road Safety Authority (Commercial Vehicle Roadworthiness) (Vehicle Repair and Maintenance) Regulations 2013, available to download here, lists the following requirements with respect to daily checks:

In the comments section under the aforementioned Facebook post, a number of lorry drivers also expressed concerns with the legality and safety of them having to crawl under their vehicle to fully check the condition of their tyres.

It appears that the defect shown in the RSA’s photo could only have been discovered had the driver crawled under the vehicle. This naturally prompts the question as to what the RSA is actually expecting of drivers.

Trans.INFO thus reached out to the RSA press team for a statement that provides clarity on the matter.

We have now received comment from the RSA, whose spokesperson said the following:

“The RSA is aware that it is not always possible to see the complete tyre from ground level, especially on twin wheels and on vehicles where the body shrouds part of the tyres.

However, there are a number of methods that professional drivers will already be familiar with to overcome these obstacles ranging from moving the vehicle forward or back (if safe to do so) in order to inspect different sections of the tyres, steered wheels can be turned left to right to inspect the inner face of the tyres and one of the easiest methods to inspect tyres that are difficult to see, is to feel the inner face of the tyre with the palm of your hand wearing appropriate hand protection, checking for cracks or breaks in the fabric, and for any lumps or bulges, or exposure of the ply or cord structure.

The RSA is not advocating that people crawl under unsupported vehicles to inspect tyres or indeed any other vehicle component. Checks should be performed at ground level whilst standing/bending down beside the vehicle being inspected.”