Defective recalled tires that should have pulled from service often remain on the road, causing crashes, injuries and deaths. A broken tire recall system is to blame. How do recalled tires stay on the road? How do recalled tires stay l on the road?
Why Have Recalled Michelin Tires Caused Injuries and Wrongful Deaths?
Fatal Church Bus Crash in Florida
In February 2014, a 15-passenger van owned by the First Baptist Church of New Port Richey, Florida, was headed north on its way to a church camp in Covington, Georgia, when the left-rear tire suffered a catastrophic tread separation the vehicle became uncontrollable. The vehicle, carrying three adults and seven children, spun off the roadway and rolled over, ejecting two children, the driver and an adult passenger. The seven children sustained a variety of injuries; the ejected adults did not survive the crash.
An investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) discovered that the failed tire, a Michelin- manufactured BF Goodrich Commercial T/A all-season radial tire, had been recalled all in July 2012, but church officials had never received the recall notice. The church van had been serviced by Sam’s Club, where the two rear tires were purchased, four months after the recall, but the tire technician did not notify the church that the van contained a recalled Michelin tire. In addition, the church official who bought the tire told NTSB investigators that the vendor did not provide him with a tire registration card. The NTSB deemed the tire’s failure the probable cause of the crash.
The Recall System is “Completely Broken”
This crash could have been prevented, but for a recall system that is “completely broken,” according to Dr. Robert Molloy, director of the NTSB’s Office of Highway Safety. In October 2015, the NTSB issued a special report that examined the tire safety issues, including the ineffective tire recall system. According to the NTSB, only one in five defective tires is taken out of service through the recall process.
Independent Tire Dealers Do Not Need to Register Tires with Manufacturers
The special tire safety report identified several gaps in the tire registration process – the critical link between a tire manufacturer and tire owner during a recall. For example, independent tire dealers are not required to register tires they sell with the manufacturers who built them. They are only required to provide the customer with a tire registration form. The Tire Industry Association (TIA), which represents 7,000 members in the retail and retread industry, admitted to the NTSB that only a small percentage of tires sold by independent dealers are ever registered.
Recall Notices Do Not Always Reach the Intended Person
The NTSB’s special tire safety report also noted problems with obtaining accurate tire and purchaser information. The Tire Identification Number, an alpha-numeric code which manufacturers use to identify which lots of tires are being recalled, is often mis-transcribed by busy tire sellers. Recall notices are sent to the address of the first purchaser. If the first owner moves and doesn’t update his registration information, or if tire or vehicle was purchased secondhand, a safety recall notice may never reach the consumer.
Michelin Recall Affects Over One Million Vehicles
In 2013, Michelin issued a massive recall affecting 1.2 million light truck tires prone to developing a tread separation, often preceded by a ride vibration or irregular wear. A tread separation can lead to rapid air loss and a loss of vehicle control or a vehicle crash.
How Do I Check If My Tires Have Been Recalled?
You can check to determine if your tires are part of a recall using:
- NHTSA Tire Recall Lookup: You can check for recalls against the brand name and tire size on the NHTSA Tire Recall site. (Learn more about how to read tire size here.)
- U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association: The USTMA provides a Tire Recall Lookup tool covering tires made by its member manufacturers. USTMA’s tool allows you to check for recalls using the Tire Identification Number, also called the DOT number. The recall lookup covers the following manufacturers:
Contact a Defective Tire Lawyer Today to Discuss Your Case
If you or a loved one was injured or killed in a crash involving a defective tire, contact a product liability attorney for legal assistance. Whether or not the tire was subject to recall, a manufacturing defect may be responsible for your injuries.
You may have the right to seek compensation for your injuries. But you will need evidence from the scene of the crash, including the defective tire or tire tread. Contact a product liability attorney as soon as possible after a tire failure incident to get help identifying evidence to support your case.
Newsome Melton handles complex civil litigation cases to help injured consumers seek justice. Call 888-808-5977 to schedule your free case evaluation today.
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