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The National Transportation Safety Board Launches Tire Recall Investigation Over Florida Fatal Accident

A fatal accident in Florida involving a church van from New Port Richey has, in part, triggered an investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board. This is the first investigation into the reasons that defective tires remain on the road despite recalls.

The accident was determined to have been caused by a tire tread separation in the rear which caused the van to swerve to the right, leaving the roadway and rolling over. Two adult church leaders were killed and eight others, mostly teens, were injured. Neither mechanics from Sam’s Club who rotated the spare to the van, nor church officials, had been made aware of any recall. There is a pending lawsuit in the case. Don Karol an NTSB investigator in charge of the tire probe stated that the recalled tires had been on the van for 18 months at the time of the crash. According to Karol there are “400 to 500 deaths per year, at least, from crashes involving tire initiated events.” That number is disputed by the Rubber Manufacturers Association who places it at approximately 200 annual fatalities.

Karol said that the recalled tire issue was only one of a number of safety concerns leading to the probe. Another is tire age. Tires have safe usage life of six years as recommended by Ford, GM and Chrysler. Independent investigations turned up tires being sold that were over ten years old. These tires are in danger of tread separation. A separated tread can wrap around the axle of a vehicle making it impossible to steer properly causing the driver to lose control. The tire industry is currently fighting legislation to get aged tires off the road. All tires have a code of four small numbers showing the month and year of production, with the first two digits showing the year and the second two showing the month.

A separate investigation by ABC News found that millions of potentially deadly tires were in use, on store shelves or unaccounted for. To blame is a “badly flawed and archaic government recall system” which has allowed this vast number of tires to remain in circulation. The NTSB estimates that only one in every four recalled tires is returned to the manufacturer.

Tire Manufacturer Liability

Virtually every major tire manufacturer has been the defendant in lawsuits over injuries and deaths caused by defective tires. As recently as October 5, 2015 a Berrien County Michigan trial court awarded $16 million to a man who was paralyzed when a defective Goodyear tire failed, causing his truck to rollover. Tires with improper adhesives and corrupted rubber mixtures cause a large number of tire failures and tread separations. Tire manufacturers are legally responsible for these failures and separations. They also have the legal responsibility to notify customers of dangerous defects as well as initiate and follow through with recalls. Even if the tires came as standard equipment on a vehicle the tire manufacturer may be liable in many instances. In many cases tire manufactures did not issue a recall until after lawsuits for injury and death were already filed.

If you or someone your care about has been injured in a motor vehicle accident, caused by a tire failure or tread separation, reach out to Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA today and speak with an attorney who specializes in defective product liability. Learn what your legal rights are and how you may be entitled to compensation for your injury. There is no obligation or out of pocket cost to speak with an auto injury attorney.  Call us today at 727-451-6900.

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