By Denna Bowman
A motorist paralysed in a horrific car accident when driving on part worn tyres is hoping his story will urge other drivers to think twice about which tyres they choose.
Typically Keith Johnston had thought he was saving money by opting for cheap part worn tyres, but it was a decision that could have cost him his life.
Keith, 41, from Tyne and Wear, told TyreSafe, the UK’s leading tyre safety organisation, how he suffered terrible life-changing injuries in the smash earlier this year and is now permanently paralysed from the top of his chest down, only able to move his arms and neck.
He also suffered tremendous emotional damage and is haunted by the memory of the February day when he was driving his Renault Megane Scenic near Carlisle.
With temperatures well below freezing at the time of the accident, when going round a bend the car lost control, bumped across the road and rolled down a ditch.
Miraculously, the four passengers in the car escaped uninjured.
All of the tyres on the car had recently been purchased in a part-worn condition and a police investigation blamed them as a major contributory factor in the accident.
The front pair had only been recently fitted but the rear tyres were found to have an illegal tread depth even though they had only been on the car for a couple of months.
Keith had always bought part worn tyres and replaced them every few months, unaware of the safety risks associated with buying used tyres.
“I thought I was saving money with part worn tyres but I’ve paid a terrible price,” said Keith. “If I knew then what I know now, I would never have bought part worn tyres.
“Unfortunately for me it’s too late but I would urge other drivers to steer clear of part worn tyres and always opt for brand new ones.”
Keith has already spent several months undergoing intensive rehabilitation in hospital but he is hoping to return home shortly when he will have to adapt to his new life with round-the-clock care.
“My life has changed for ever but I hope that some good can come out of it. My message is think again if you are considering fitting part worn tyres,” said Keith.
His plight is highlighted as TyreSafe recently revealed the alarming findings of an ongoing investigation it carried out with Auto Express magazine into part worn tyres.
Having bought 50 part worn tyres, the tyres were inspected by an independent tyre expert who found that 98 per cent of the tyres were being sold illegally.
However, perhaps more concerning was that over a third of the tyres were found to contain other potentially dangerous forms of damage or non-compliance with part worn tyre legislation.