Africa has the highest rate of road traffic deaths, with 26.6 killed per 100 000 inhabitants.
The United Nations Decade of Action for Road Safety (2011 – 2020) called on African countries to implement concrete actions to improve road safety and halve road deaths by 2020.
It remains a matter of grave concern that Africa continues to have the highest road mortality rates in the world.
Studies reveal that defective tyres are a leading cause of fatal collisions.
Africa is plagued by inadequate legislative and regulatory frameworks and an absence of minimum safety and quality standards, for what may constitute a safe to use second-hand or part-worn tyre.
Across the African continent that part-worn and second-hand tyres be universally and stringently regulated according to rigorous standards and specifications in the same vein as those against which originally manufactured are held to.
The inability to enforce stricter safety and quality standards such as those applied to new tyres leaves African road users (drivers, passengers, commuters and pedestrians) vulnerable to unsafe, ill-suited and illicit part-worn tyres that may be more affordable, but in reality, cost lives.
Unscrupulous operators take advantage of porous tyre waste disposal processes to gather ‘stock’ for resale, while others resell tyres rejected from other countries outside Africa because they are no longer fit for use. This makes them dangerous, a fact further compounded by these tyres often being ill-suited to Africa’s climate and road conditions
There is a need to protect road users by developing, enforcing and monitoring compliance with appropriate legislative and regulatory standards and specifications for second-hand and part-worn tyres, in uniformity across Africa. Drivers who may be experiencing financial pressure, often choose unverified cheaper tyres without being aware of the associated safety risks
Safety certification for a part-worn or second hand tyre is imperative. There are inherent limits and thresholds beyond which a used tyre can be reconstituted and repurposed safely beyond its original lifespan. Once these limits have been reached, tyres should be safely disposed of in accordance with regulated tyre waste management practice. However, many of these tyres are returned into the African market, with unsuspecting and financially strapped drivers becoming the victims.
Addressing these issues will also confront an unchecked illicit economy in the trade and sale of unregulated and unsafe tyres, which is also typically characterized by unfair competition, irresponsible business practices and dumping of these tyres on African roads from jurisdictions where they are no longer suitable for use.
A part-worn tyre is a used tyre that has been removed from a vehicle, which after being reconstituted, retreaded and resold as a second-hand tyre may be safely fitted to a vehicle that operates on a public road.
However, in many such instances these tyres are subject to weak and inadequate, if any compulsory processes, standards and specifications for testing if they are suitable and safe for reuse in their reconditioned state.
There are inherent limits and thresholds beyond which a used tyre can be reconstituted and repurposed safely and for safe reuse, beyond its life-span and must be safely disposed of through regulated environmental requirements for tyre waste management.
Originally manufactured new pneumatic passenger tyres are legally required to undergo stringent and rigorous testing and homologation processes to certify that such tyres comply with the regulatory safety and technical standards for use on passenger vehicles on public roads.
Homologation refers to the process of regulatory authority certification and approval of a product to confirm that it meets regulatory standards and specifications, such as safety and technical requirements.
By contrast, part-worn and second-hand tyres that are not subject to any regulated quality, safety and performance certification of a comparable nature, makes it impossible to determine whether it is safe for fitment and reuse on passenger vehicles and public roads.
This introduces inherently high personal risks to consumer safety for those who purchase and utilise these tyres, as well as other road users.
It affords those trading in these tyres to be unconstrained in what they chose to make available for purchase in the market by consumers. This opens a floodgate for illicit trade, unfair competition and irresponsible business practices.