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Lack of notice of recalled tires causes death and consumer injury

Unless you’re one of the Flintstones, you rely on your tires to get you where you are going. Unfortunately, even though they are one of the external parts of your car that you can examine every day, you can’t really tell if one is defective and needs repair unless it is flat. That creates a danger for every person on the road but transportation officials are trying to repair that problem.

According to the National Transportation Safety Board, only one of five tires that have been recalled has been taken off the road throughout the country, including in Texas. Most of the blame for that alarming number is not on the tire owners who fail to obey the recall but on sellers and manufacturers who can’t, or don’t, notify the buyers. A Board official says the system is “completely broken.”

One recent example that has been attributed to a recalled tire that was still on the road is an accident involving a passenger van. The driver pulled off the road due to a vibration but he resumed the trip because he didn’t see a problem with a tire. Unbeknownst to him, the tire had been recalled a year and a half before for a defect that wasn’t visible because it was on the inside of the tire. When the tire failed, the van was involved in a rollover accident and two people died.

According to reports, the tire on that vehicle had never been registered with the manufacturer. In that situation, the manufacturer had gone out of its way to try to find people who had purchased the tires, but the records for this tire had an outdated address for the recall notice. As this example shows, there are so many flaws in the system that even when a manufacturer goes beyond what is legally required to find purchasers, another step can fail in the process.

According to statistics, 33,000 tire-related accidents happen every year causing about 500 fatalities. Because of the many levels of error that can prevent an auto owner from knowing about a recall of a defective product, the fault can be laid at the feet of the car manufacturer, the tire manufacturer, the seller or even the owner if a recall is ignored. If you’ve been in a tire-related accident, a products liability attorney can help sort out the source of responsibility for the failure.

Source: Manufacturing.net, “Recall System for Faulty Tires Is ‘Broken’,” Joan Lowy, Oct. 28, 2015

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