Defective tires cause fatal motor vehicle accidents. According to some estimates, defective tires kill up to 500 individuals in this country each year.
The federal government now warns that many people are unknowingly driving on defective tires, with no reliable system in place to alert them.
The National Transportation Safety Board, the federal government agency that investigates major roadway and aviation accidents, says that 33,000 motor vehicle accidents are caused each year by bad tires. Between 400 and 500 people die as a result, and thousands are seriously hurt in tire-related crashes.
Based on four tire-related crashes that filled 12 people and injured 42 more, the NTSB began an investigation into tire safety. The investigation recently concluded and federal investigators reported that, unlike defective automobiles, recalls for defective tires are not working.
Only 20 Percent of Defective Tires are Fixed
The NTSB reported that 78 percent of recalled, defective automobiles are eventually serviced. However, only about two out of every 10 defective tires are returned to the manufacturer. Over 3 million tires were recalled due to manufacturer defects during the study period of 2009 through 2013. With 20 percent being fixed, that’s a lot of dangerous rubber left on the road.
Automobiles have vehicle identification numbers that are used to notify owners when their cars are under recall. Since cars must be registered, manufacturers can use the VIN information to track down owners and notify them about recalls. Tires don’t have a similar number ID and registering system.
While manufacturer-owned tire dealers are required to register new tires for their customers, independent operators are not. And most people buy their tires from independent shops. The NTSB found that independent tire stores register only about 10 percent of new tires they sell.
How to Improve Defective Tire Recalls
As a result of its investigation, the NTSB has three recommendations for improving recalls of defective tires:
- Mandate that all tire dealers register new tires
- Require tire manufacturers to post information on tire recalls on their websites
- Make the tire recall online search process much easier for consumers
Those who make or sell defective goods should be responsible for alerting consumers to potential problems, as well as for the actual harm caused by their negligent actions and bad products. If you were seriously injured or lost a loved one in a car crash involving a defective tire or automobile, contact an attorney who is experienced in catastrophic motor vehicle accident lawsuits, who can pursue just compensation on your behalf.
The choice of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely on advertising.