ALMOST all part-worn tyres checked in a recent investigation by road safety organisation TyreSafe were illegal.
Checks carried out during Tyre Safety Month revealed 99 per cent of the part-worn tyre retailers visited by officials were selling illegal and dangerous tyres.
Some 68 traders were visited during October and all but one was supplying tyres which contravened the legislation governing their sale with 75 per cent of the 129 tyres inspected deemed to be unsafe.
TyreSafe is now advising motorists to think again before buying part-worn tyres as there is no guarantee what is being sold is safe.
The investigations also highlighted a high level of incompetence among traders.
Stuart Jackson, chairman of TyreSafe, said: "Despite years of appalling results from these investigations into the retail of part worn tyres, these findings still come as a shock.
"How can it be acceptable that three-quarters of the part worn tyres offered for sale were unsafe? Tyres are the only part of car in contact with the road and essential to road safety - selling dangerous examples to unsuspecting motorists is putting lives at risk.
"The number of dangerous part-worn tyres being sold is no doubt related to the widespread incompetence of the retailers. With just one of the 68 retailers found to be compliant with the law, surely the part-worn trade must vastly improve its standards before the British motorist can have any confidence in them.
"Until that happens, TyreSafe continues to urge drivers to buy new tyres to avoid paying a potentially heavy price for choosing to fit unsafe part worns."
TyreSafe has been working in partnership with Trading Standards for many years to investigate part-worn traders, but during Tyre Safety Month a range of enforcement agencies also participated.
These included numerous police forces and fire services, the Environment Agency, the Department for Work and Pensions and the Health and Safety Executive.
In a week of activity in the North East, a multi-agency team led by officers from Cleveland and Durham Specialist Operations Unit visited 29 businesses, none of which complied with the regulations.
Similar results were obtained during other checks across England and Scotland.
TyreSafe is campaigning to drive compliance of part-worn retailers with the governing legislation set out in the Consumer Protection Act and the Motor Vehicle Tyres (Safety) Regulations and raising their competence to a level comparable to new tyre retail technicians.