Motor Wheel Service Distribution has taken the issue of CV wheel safety to the European Parliament, with John Ellis invited to present expert testimony to the Committee on Transport and Tourism (TRAN) during last week’s (January 22) public hearing into the Roadworthiness Package.
Acting in his capacity as Director of the Northwest Automotive Alliance (NAA), Ellis presented an introduction and background to the issue, then called for five measures, most prominently the light regulation of the supply chain to enforce existing standards and improved inspection procedures across all EU member states.
To achieve this he asked for wheels to be identified as a safety critical item, that all wheels and axles be tested to meet European Tyre and Rim Technical Organisation (ETRTO) standards and that all wheels periodically undertake an industry leading 10-point check plan.
Ellis backed up his speech with a booklet on wheel fatigue which included evidence from Wheels India that found that non-circumferential hubs, which give only partial contact between axle and wheel, are causing untested load stresses which cause cracks and half life expectancy.
Following the presentation, Ellis continued: "There is a lack of knowledge in the CV sector which means wheels are not being replaced when they are fatigued, or worse still are being replaced with inferior products that have not been properly tested, and this includes both the wheel and the hub.
"This is compounded when original equipment manufacturers (OEM) find and address major issues, such as hub shape, but then fail to disseminate the information to the aftermarket. Specific wheels exist for non-circumferential hubs, but when this wheel is replaced or interchanged if an identical wheel is not used we have an item that will start to crack and fatigue at under 50,000km and will stay in the supply chain.
"The changes I have presented are not designed to place extra financial burden on the commercial vehicle sector, but they will create a far cleaner, far safer sector that will recognise wheels as the safety critical item they truly are."
Representation on the TRAN committee consisted of Mr Brian Simpson in his capacity as Chairman, with rapporteurs Mr Werner Kuhn (periodic roadworthiness tests for motor vehicles), Ms Olga Sehnalová (technical roadside inspection) and Ms Vilja Savisaar-Toomast (registration documents for vehicles).
Experts presented from groups including the European Transport Safety Council (NGO), The International Motor Vehicle Inspection Committee (CITA), The International Road Transport Union (IRU) and The Fédération Onternationale de l’Automobile (FIA).
The hearing was open to the public, webstreamed and translated into a number of the official languages of the EU, with simultaneous interpretation provided by the European Parliament.
A further meeting of the TRAN Committee is due to take place on February 18 to discuss the matter further, with the Roadworthiness Package Report due on March 17.