The ones that get away
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A STUDY by the Institute of Road Transport Engineers of "mysterious wheel losses, stud failures and wheel cracking affecting mainly the more heavily loaded wheels on commercial vehicles" refers to "complacency in official circles." Drivers quoted in a radio programme who had encountered unofficial circles hurtling through the air towards them were, however, far from complacent. They were terrified.
The IRTE says that commercial-vehicle wheel studs have to be replaced at the rate of about four per cent a year and wheels at three per cent. This, I suggest, is alarming. Research into a matter of possibly life and death will cost about £75,000. The IRTE has collected more than £10,000 towards it and expects at least a similar amount from the road transport industry.
Government support is needed to complete the work urgently, but if manufacturers persist in refusing to subscribe to it, the Department of Transport has an excuse to claim that it is not in the business of subsidising an argument about whether operators or makers are responsible for the faults.