Low tyres tread and air pressure lead to tragic fatal accident

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By Denna Bowman

A teenager died after his car span off the road and into a tree, just hours after it passed its MOT despite the tread of the tyres being close to illegal.

Bedford Coroner’s Court heard that the distance Dean Johnson, 19, travelled between the MOT and the collision had put the tread below the legal limit.

Dean, from Sheffield, was killed instantly in the accident which took place B1042 Tadlow Road in Wrestlingworth on October 8 last year.

Earlier that day he had taken his Renault Clio to a garage for its annual MOT and although the tread on his tyres was legal it was close to the limit and he booked in an appointment to get it sorted a few days later, according to a report in Bedfordshire on Sunday.

However, later that night when Dean was travelling back home from his girlfriend’s house his car span off the road as he went round a bend and smashed into a tree.

When Bedfordshire Police’s collision investigation unit examined the car they found that the tread had worn below the legal 1.6mm limit, and the tyre pressures were also low. He had also received an advisory for his brakes.

While no single thing led to Dean’s death, a combination of a damp road service and faults with the car caused the accident.

Bedford Coroner’s Court heard that there were no witnesses to the accident and Dean was found by a passer-by discovered him, still in the car, but not breathing.

PC Spears told the inquest: “The distance between the MOT and the collision had put the tread below the legal limit. Unfortunately the government’s rules are that the car is tested at MOT as it is presented so just because it is legal at the time doesn’t mean it is legal 40 or 50 miles later.

“Dean’s car certainly wasn’t much below the legal limit, perhaps only 0.1mm at the most. He wouldn’t have had to travel far at all.”

Belinda Cheney, assistant deputy coroner, recorded a verdict that Dean died as a result of a road traffic accident.

She said: “I find it very weird that we can have a situation in this country where you can go for an MOT and be so close to failing yet it is allowed back out on the road and it is not as if he didn’t act on it by making a booking straight away.

“It was a tragic accident and as a mother myself I can imagine the pain as a family you are going through. If there is anything to come out of this it is that people should get their tyres replaced as soon as possible.”

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