Goodyear voluntarily recalled more than 170,000 discontinued tires which resulted in lawsuits claiming they caused accidents that resulted in death or injury to people, federal transportation officials said Tuesday.
The tires, which were last produced in 2003 and were sold for use in trucks and recreational vehicles, “have experienced a higher failure rate on RVs than similar tires,” the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration he said in a note Tuesdayfollowing the retirement of the tires last week.
When installed on some RVs, they were prone to “tread separations and other failures,” according to the recall ratio. “Tread separations can lead to loss of vehicle control, resulting in an increased risk of accidents.”
As the tires were suspended nearly two decades ago, the safety agency said they didn’t know how many are left on the road, but warned that some RV owners may still have the tires on their vehicle or put them aside as spare parts.
In Tuesday’s statement, the safety agency urged “anyone who owns, rents or uses a camper or truck with 22.5-inch wheels to make sure these tires are not in use on their vehicle.” The recall, he added, specifically applies to size 275 / 70R22.5 G159 tires, commonly found on RVs.
In a statement on its websiteGoodyear said there was “no safety flaw” in the tire.
The company has initiated the voluntary recall, it said, to “address the risks that occur when the tire has been used under underinflated or overloaded conditions” on specific RVs. Responsible for communicating the appropriate loading standards to drivers, the company has added what the RV manufacturers’.
“We have not received a claim for injury related to the use of the tire on a Class A motorhome in more than 14 years,” said Goodyear, adding that the tire has consistently met its “exacting safety standards”.
Among the tires, he added that “few, if any, remain on the road”.
The recall followed years of legal battles against the tire company, with many of the documents from those cases sealed.
But in 2017, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration opened an investigation into tire failures based on information obtained from that litigation, according to which the tires, when fitted to some RVs, failed, leading to death or personal injury.
From 1998 to 2015, a total of 95 people were killed or injured in accidents caused by defective tires, according to the claims reviewed by the security agency.
The specific size of the G159 tire was intended for use on delivery trucks in city centers, but was instead sold and installed on large RVs, which travel for longer periods, and on motorways at much higher speeds.
“In this application”, the security agency he wrote in his conclusions“the tire has undergone catastrophic separations and bursts of the tread.”
Goodyear knew the tires could not withstand this type of use, according to the safety agency.
On February 22, it sent a letter to Goodyear asking the company to collect the tire. On March 8, Goodyear refused that request, the agency added. But the company has since conducted a recall, the agency said.
The safety agency has urged all drivers with tires to get a free replacement, available at some Goodyear dealers. The company is also offering $ 500 in exchange for affected tires that weren’t fitted to an RV, the agency said.
Michael Brooks, the interim executive director of the Center for Auto Safety, a nonprofit consumer advocacy group, said the recall was an important first step in holding Goodyear accountable.
“This has essentially been a successful cover-up so far,” Brooks said, adding that the government and the legal system had long failed to protect the American public from the safety risks posed by tires and that he hoped the recall would stimulate further civil and criminal sanctions.
“They continually denied responsibility,” he said of Goodyear. “It has taken so long that we are no longer able to identify the defective parts.”