Tiremaker could be in a lot trouble if it’s found to be withholding data away from investigators

Tire manufacturer Goodyear is in hot water in the wake of an investigation launched by federal safety officials on allegations that some older Goodyear motorhome tires are susceptible to fail and cause deadly crashes. The probe is being conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which started its investigation after a court ordered the release of Goodyear data from lawsuits that had been previously sealed under court orders and confidential settlement agreements.

Goodyear’s G159 tires have actually led to “at least 98 deaths or injury claims” to go with “over 600 claims of property damage.”

The investigation the NHTSA opened against Goodyear paints a messy picture of the American tire maker. According to the filings, close to 40,000 of Goodyear’s motorhome tires that are still being used today could be affected by the tire defect. A handful of reported accidents have already been documented, including one death and as many as 12 injuries. Those numbers, though, could still be higher, according to documents filed in one of the court cases against the company.

One of the filings alleges that certain defects on Goodyear’s G159 tires have actually led to “at least 98 deaths or injury claims” to go with “over 600 claims of property damage.” Many of the defective tires were made between 1996 and 2003 are believed to be the cause of 40 legal cases filed against the company over the past ten years. Many of these cases were settled and had confidentiality agreements, something that Jason Levine, executive director of the consumer advocacy group, Center for Auto Safety, said was Goodyear’s away of covering up the defects on its tires. "If Goodyear has a different number, they’re not sharing it," he said.

The American tire maker has said that it’s cooperating with the investigation but has no plans of issuing more comments due to the sensitivity of the issue

The American tire maker has said that it’s cooperating with the investigation but has no plans of issuing more comments due to the sensitivity of the issue and the potential legal consequences that may arise. At the very least, Goodyear will have a lot to answer for if the NHTSA decides that legal action is warranted adjacent the company.

References

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Kirby Garlitos
Automotive Aftermarket Expert - kirby@topspeed.com
Kirby’s first exposure into the world of automobiles happened when he caught Knight Rider on television as a five-year old boy. David Hasselhoff didn’t leave much of an impression on him (that happened later on in Baywatch), but KITT certainly did. To this day, Kirby remains convinced that he will one day own a car with the same ‘spirit’ as the original KITT (not the 2008 monstrosity). He doesn't know when that will be, but until then, he’s committed to expressing his love for KITT, and all cars for that matter, here at TopSpeed.  Read More
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