Tires

The rubber tire first arrived in the United States in the 1800s. Michelin pioneered the first automobile tire and in 1948, they introduced the radial tire. By 1983 all American cars came standard with radial tires.

Tires serve many functions on a vehicle. First, they provide the method for vehicle to move along the road. Properly maintained and effective tires help cars avoid accidents and breakdowns. Tires also impact fuel efficiency and vehicle maneuvering. Tires may improve everything from steering to stopping.

Tire Defects

Unfortunately a lot of tires have been recalled over the past several decades because of imperfections, defects and malfunction. Major tire defects can lead to tread separation, blowouts, and rim defects.

Tread Separation: When a tire is manufactured defectively, the tread can separate. When this occurs at excessive speeds, the vehicle can roll over because the driver loses the ability to control the vehicle with the damaged tire.   Tire Blowout: In addition to tread separation, tire blowout can be caused by inferior material used to manufacture the tire. Another common problem associated with tire blowouts is over or under inflation of the tire.

Tire Explosion: Tires have exploded in the midst of changing the tires. This defect is associated with tires that have been temporarily fixed with a tire sealant.

Tire Failure Statistics

The number one reason for roadside breakdowns is tire failure. There are more than 10,000 injuries and almost 500 deaths associated with tire failures each year. Since 15 percent of all vehicles are suspected to have improper tire pressure, Congress passed a law requiring auto manufacturers to provide a low tire pressure warning devise on new automobile. 

Defective Tires

Several examples of instances where defective tires were implicated in recalls or accidents are detailed below.
Firestone ATX and Wilderness tires were associated with a series of fatal accidents. The Department of Transportation (DOT) opened an investigation which resulted in a significant recall of tires on Ford Explorers. This cost the company in excess of $3 billion.

American Pacific Industries (API) issued a recall for its Spector Advanta SUV tires in 2008. Due to a manufacturing defect, these tires can lose air pressure while driving, resulting in a loss of control of a vehicle.

Ford recalled Continental tires that were standard on the 2006 F350. These tires were subject to premature wearing which could result in accidents and injury.  

Issues with defective tires have prompted the filing of many lawsuits by those involved in accidents attributed to faulty tires. Seeking litigation assistance may help with medical expenses as well as compensation due to pain and suffering. 

Resources

  1. Department of Transportation (DOT). (2008, June). Tires. Safety defect/noncompliance notices received during June 2008. Retrieved from http://nhthqnwws112.odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/acms/docservlet/Artemis/Public/Rec...
  2. Finneran, J. (2006, May 9). FMVSS No. 138. Tire pressure monitoring system compliance test system. 2006 SAE Government/Industry Meeting. Retrieved from http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/staticfiles/DOT/NHTSA/NRD/Multimedia/PDFs/Publi...
  3. Ford Motor Company. (2005, November 21). 2006 Ford F-350 recall. Retrieved from http://www.autobuyguide.com/2006/12-aut/ford/f-350/recalls/index.html
  4. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). (2009). Everything rides on it: Tire safety. Retrieved from http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/cars/rules/TireSafety/ridesonit/brochure.html
  5. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). (2001, August). Tire pressure special study: Vehicle observation study. DOT HS 809 317. Retrieved from http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/people/ncsa/ResearchNotes/809-317.pdf
  6. Salinger, L. (2004). Encyclopedia of white collar and corporate crime: Volume 2. SAGE Publications. New York: NY.
  7. Staff. (2009). Modern Tire Dealer. Retrieved from http://www.moderntiredealer.com/Stats/Viewer.aspx?file=http%3a%2f%2fwww....
  8. Thompson, J. (2009). What we should know about tires: A historical background. Retrieved from http://www.jags.org/TechInfo/2001/05May01/tires/historyoftires.htm
  9. Tire Retread & Repair Information Bureau (TRIB). (2009). Breakdown: 10 top reasons. Retrieved from http://www.retread.org/packet/index.cfm/ID/234.htm