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Complaints About Non-Recalled Firestone Tires Outstrip Recalled Complaints

25 October 2000

Complaints About Non-Recalled Firestone Tires Outstrip Recalled Tire Complaints 7-1, Finds
    ARLINGTON, Va., Oct 25 Firestone Wilderness tires made in
Wilson, North Carolina have produced five times more reports to NHTSA than
recalled Wilderness tires produced in Decatur, Illinois. Canadian-made
Wilderness tires have produced twice as many reports to NHTSA as those made in
Decatur. The data were released late Tuesday by NHTSA and analyzed overnight
by ( ). "These data are further
evidence that Ford and Firestone have distorted the facts about Wilderness
tire failures. It's time for them to complete the job by recalling the rest of
these tires," said Little Rock, Arkansas attorney Tab Turner,'s "Attorney of Record" for tires.
    NHTSA released the numbers on the same day another tragic rollover crash
near Orlando, Florida left a pregnant mother in serious condition fighting for
her life and the life of an unborn child.  Florida State Police report that
the crash was caused by the failure of a 16 inch non-recalled Wilderness tire,
according to press reports. "How many more people have to die and how many
more families have to suffer before these two companies act responsibly and
ethically by getting the bad tires off the road," Turner asked.
    "If Ford and Firestone refuse to recall these tires, NHTSA at least should
warn the public about these tires and advise tire owners to replace them at
their own expense with non-Firestone tires until the government can force the
manufacturers to act. While the NHTSA is studying tire mechanics 101, people
are dying. The time has come for the agency to quit pandering to the industry
and do something to protect the consumer," Turner said.
    The analysis revealed that about 20 percent (685) of the
3700 complaints in NHTSA's database have enough information to identify the
tire size and where it was made. Only 62 of the complaints involve recalled
tires made in Decatur, Illinois. About half (320) of the complaints involve
tires made in Wilson, NC, five times more complaints than the recalled Decatur
tires. Canadian-made tires account for 133 of the complaints, twice the number
of complaints about recalled Decatur tires. More than 20 percent (174) of the
complaints involve 16" Wilderness tires, none of which have been recalled.
    "Not only should all Firestone Wilderness tires be removed from vehicles,
they should not be used as replacement tires. Using these same tires as
replacement tires is like putting time bombs under a vehicle. The data
indicate that in time they too can be expected to fail," Turner said.
    "As we said more than 10 weeks ago, Decatur is nothing more than a smoke
screen designed by Ford and Firestone to avoid the monetary consequences
associated with a full and complete recall of the bad tires. The message from
NHTSA's own database gets louder and stronger every time it is released,"
Turner said.