Tire-Related Explorer Rollover Deaths Continue to Climb

Reprinted from The Safety Record, V5, I6; Nov/Dec. 2008

CROWNSVILLE, MD. - Ford may have won the public relations battle in 2000, when the blame for 173 Explorer rollover deaths fell on Bridgestone-Firestone's Wilderness ATX tires, but the motoring public has turned out to be the real loser. According to a new analysis, after a brief dip, the number of Explorer rollover deaths involving a tire failure has risen to significantly higher levels than before the tires were recalled.

Firestone and NHTSA Launch Consumer Alert for Recalled Wilderness Tires; SRS Had Urged NHTSA to Investigate

Nashville, Tenn. - Bridgestone-Firestone has announced that it will be notifying SUV owners, Firestone company stores and authorized dealers to look for and replace any Radial ATX and Wilderness ATs that were captured in the 2000 and 2001 recalls. The tire maker gave no reason for the consumer notification program, launched on July 21. But, it comes one month after Safety Research & Strategies publicly requested that NHTSA investigate why many recalled spares were left behind during the recalls. SRS pointed the agency to a spate of catastrophic rollover crashes attributed to tread separations in recalled spare tires and evidence that potentially hundreds of thousands of these tires were missed or overlooked during the recalls. NHTSA also issued a "Consumer Advisory" on the notification program that urged consumers to have their tires checked, particularly spares.

SRS Petitions NHTSA to Examine Firestone ATX and Wilderness Tire Recalls and Owner Notification

June 21, 2006
Nicole Nason
Administrator
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
400 7th Street SW
Washington, DC 20597

RE: Recalled Firestone ATX and Wilderness Tires

Dear Ms. Nason:

The Number of Tire Age Recommendations Grows: Bridgestone-Firestone is the Latest Entry

Tire age degradation hit the radar of safety advocates, regulators and members of Congress following the Firestone ATX / Wilderness recalls in 2000 and 2001 when experts concluded that age degradation played a role in the catastrophic failure of these tires. Since the recalls Safety Research & Strategies (SRS) began examining what was known about the issue worldwide and found startling evidence that both tire and vehicle manufacturers have known tires, whether or not they are actually used, can experience tread separations due to internal oxidative aging, a process that is largely invisible. Following SRS' docket submissions to NHTSA about their findings and an active campaign to alert the public of the danger through the media, some manufacturers have quietly started to address the issue.