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. Continue reading
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. Continue reading
June 21, 2006
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
400 7th Street SW
Washington, DC 20597
RE: Recalled Firestone ATX and Wilderness Tires
Dear Ms. Nason:
We are writing to request NHTSA initiate a Recall Query to examine the Firestone ATX and Wilderness tire recalls and owner notification program (ONP) undertaken by Bridgestone-Firestone and Ford Motor Company in 2000 and 2001. Our request is based on growing evidence that recalled tires are still causing death and injury crashes. Further, recalled tires, particularly spares, are likely to be put into service in the future with equally devastating results.
Click here to view a PDF of the full letter.
Update: Firestone and NHTSA Launch Consumer Alert for Recalled Wilderness Tires; SRS Had Urged NHTSA to Investigate
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. Continue reading