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Court Refuses to Recall Explorers, Firestone Tires

An article in the Detroit Free Press reported that a federal judge refused Friday to order a recall of millions of Ford Explorers and Firestone tires, saying that only theNational Highway Traffic Safety Administration can force manufacturers to take potentially defective products off the road.

The paper went on to say that lawyers suing Ford Motor Co. and Bridgestone/Firestone Inc. had asked U.S. District Judge Sarah Evans Barker to order a recall of 4 million Explorers and millions of Firestone tires, which were included as original equipment on the nation's most popular sport-utility vehicle. In asking Barker to force the companies to get the vehicles and tires off the road, the lawyers had complained that bureaucratic delays at NHTSA could be putting motorists at risk of a fatal wreck. At least 203 U.S. traffic deaths and 700 injuries are blamed on Firestone tires, many of which were on Explorers. Spokespeople for Ford and Firestone welcomed her ruling.