U.S. Transportation Secretary on Bridgestone/Firestone Recall

7 September 2000

Statement by U.S. Transportation Secretary Slater
on Bridgestone/Firestone Recall

During one of the largest tire safety recalls in history, we at the U.S. Department of Transportation have further strengthened our efforts to alert consumers expeditiously about the status of our safety defect investigation and to work with tire and vehicle manufacturers to better protect the public. This has already resulted in a consumer advisory from the Department's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) just before Labor Day regarding our concerns about the higher rates of failure in an additional 1.4 million tires.

The Bridgestone/Firestone recall reinforces the extent to which we will face new challenges in transportation in the 21st century and new millennium in this global economy. The Department is committed to developing new ways of obtaining and discovering safety defect information from all possible sources -- including data from service actions in other countries as well as from litigation and claims -- so that we can identify potential motor vehicle, motor vehicle equipment and tire safety defects as early as humanly possible. We are reviewing several possible actions within our existing authority. As Dr. Sue Bailey, NHTSA Administrator, expressed so well in today's hearings, we will work closely with Congress on any necessary legislative initiatives in the near future.

We will continue to keep the public informed of our findings as we expeditiously continue our on-going investigation. Likewise, the Department will continue to monitor the on-going recall to assure that suitable replacements are provided as promptly as possible.

Dr. Bailey and I look forward to working with Congress to ensure that NHTSA has the resources and tools to make highway travel the safest possible for American motorists. Safety is and remains President Clinton and Vice President Gore's highest transportation priority -- the North Star by which we are guided and willing to be judged.


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