AIR SUSPENSION on trucks is causing serious damage to UK roads, Cambridge University researchers revealed last week.
Research has shown that the suspension system, promoted as 'road friendly', can actually create up to 50% more pavement damage than steel springs.
Fatigue cracking in asphalt pavements has been identified as a particular problem. This is known to be a major cause of deterioration on secondary roads.
Speaking at a symposium on accelerated pavement testing held at Nottingham University last week, research team leader Dr David Cebon criticised the European Commission directive that has promoted the use of air suspension.
EC directive 92/7/EEC allows an extra tonne of payload on air sprung trucks. Since its introduction in 1992, air suspension has become widespread and now accounts for about 70% of trucks on UK roads.
'The problem is that air suspensions need to be maintained properly to be more road friendly than steel springs, ' said Cebon. 'The indications are that this isn't occurring'.