Paul Goggins, Labour MP for Wythenshawe and Sale East, April 2011

Paul Goggins, Labour MP for Wythenshawe and Sale East, has been awarded 'Parliamentarian of the Month' by Brake, the road safety charity, and Direct Line for his efforts to raise the issue of regulation for heavy goods vehicle wheel safety in parliament.

In June 2010, Paul was approached by Motor Wheel Service, a wheel supply company within his constituency, who were concerned about the lack of regulation to ensure the safety of second hand heavy goods vehicle wheels.

They believe that there has been a rise of approximately 10,000 substandard second hand HGV wheels entering the UK market per year. Paul is concerned that there are no guarantees that these second hand wheels are safe because while tyres are heavily regulated to ensure they meet minimum standards of safety, wheels are not.

As it stands a wheel could be damaged in a serious crash and be back on the road the very next day, fitted to a different vehicle without any inspection or accountability. A wheel that has been damaged through age, poor maintenance or in a collision could become detached. A wheel that comes loose at speed can hit an oncoming vehicle or pedestrian with incredible force. Click here to read Brake's fact sheet on wheel loss.

Paul wrote to Mike Penning, the road safety minister, to express his concerns and he agreed to investigate the issue further. Following this, in early November Paul secured a meeting with the Minister and took along representatives from the Motor Wheel Service. The Minister agreed to commission a review of the evidence.

Paul secured a House of Commons debate in March 2011, which he used to urge the Government to introduce more rigorous checks to identify unsafe second hand wheels. The debate had one positive outcome as Mike Penning agreed to appoint a senior official in the Department for Transport to act as a point of contact for the wheel supply industry so that they are able to directly forward any evidence of defective wheels or companies supplying them.

Paul plans to continue campaigning for more rigorous checks on HGV wheels and their suppliers.

This is not the first time Paul has raised the issue of road safety. A few years ago, when a member of Paul's constituency was tragically killed in a road crash, he campaigned for a garden of remembrance. He was successful in his campaigns and the council built a remembrance garden in the South Manchester cemetery.
 
Paul Goggins MP said: "I had always assumed that wheels and tyres were subject to similar checks but that is not the case. Whilst tyres are closely monitored wheels are not. With more and more imported HGV wheels coming into the UK and a growing market for second hand wheels it is time for the government to act. I welcome the Minister's decision to appoint a senior official to follow up specific concerns reported by individuals and companies within the wheel industry."

Julie Townsend, Brake's campaigns director, said: "We are delighted by the significant efforts Paul has made to improve the safety of trucks on our roads. Promoting fleet safety is an integral part of Brake's work and we would like to applaud Paul's endeavours to press the Government to act on this important issue."

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