The tire industry is in dire need for change due to a continued problem regarding tire safety and lack of regulation. The issue was brought to the public’s attention after a massive joint recall by Firestone and Ford in 2000 in which approximately 14.4 million tires were recalled. The government connected at least 271 deaths and thousands of injuries to the recalled tires, causing President Bill Clinton to sign meaningful legislation to ensure tire recall enhancement and accountability (TREAD Act). However, the public has since paid less attention to tire safety, even as the problem has grown worse in recent years.
Companies continue to recall tires in bulk each year. Michelin just recalled approximately 1.3 million tires this past December upon discovering a potential “tread/belt endurance problem.” Other recent large-scale recalls include those issued by Hercules, Bridgestone/Firestone, and GITI Tire Ltd.
Due to lack of meaningful regulatory oversight, recalled tires have not been fully taken off the roads. Consumers have no way to easily check on the history and model of the tires they are using. In fact, in 2012 there was a major dilemma in which Kumho Tires recalled certain passenger car tires and sold them to a massive scrap tire recycler. Kumho claims it sold them for disposal and that they punctured holes into the tires’ tread surface, but the recycler went on to sell some of these tires to wholesalers and distributors, where consumers eventually bought the tires and placed themselves at risk of a defective product personal injury.
My Rhode Island auto accident lawyers feel that the public needs to be made more aware of the dangers of driving on recalled tires. Consumers already need to worry about their tires degrading due to age. They should not have to worry about experiencing personal injury from tires that were already deemed too unsafe to drive from the manufacturing company.