Why Defective Tires Are Dangerous

By Peter DePaolis

Prior to the introduction of tire pressure monitoring systems, flat tires and blowouts caused an estimated 414 deaths, 10,275 non-fatal injuries, and 78,392 transportation accidents each year in the United States, according to a 2003 report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. In an effort to reduce the number of tire-related car accidents in the U.S., the NHTSA began requiring all light vehicles to be equipped with tire pressure monitoring systems as of Sept. 1, 2007. These systems warn drivers when a tire is significantly underinflated. While tire pressure monitoring systems are an important safety feature, they cannot prevent all tire-related accidents and injuries. If a defective tire has caused serious injury to you or a loved one, our experienced personal injury attorneys can help.

Defective Tire Accidents and Injuries

A sudden loss of tire pressure can cause a driver to lose control of his or her vehicle, which can result in a vehicle rollover, crossing into oncoming traffic, and other dangerous situations. Defective tires can also cause serious injuries if they explode during installation or inflation. It is important for tires to be designed, manufactured, stored, installed, and maintained properly.

The following tire defects can lead to severe accidents and injuries:

  • Underinflation or overinflation
  • Tread separation
  • Belt separation
  • Sidewall failure
  • Bead wire failure
  • Support cable failure
  • Mismatched tires
  • Wrong-sized rims
  • Inferior rubber compound
  • Being stored for too long

If you have sustained injuries because of a defective tire, you may be entitled to compensation from the manufacturer, distributor, retailer, and/or other parties, depending on the specifics of your case.

Tire Recalls

Firestone and Ford were at the heart of one of the most notorious tire recall in U.S. history. On Aug. 9, 2000, Firestone announced a recall of 6.5 million ATX and Wilderness AT tires produced at its plant in Decatur, Ill. Then, after Bridgestone/Firestone CEO John Lampe called into question the safety of the Ford Explorer, Ford announced on May 23, 2001, that it would replace an additional 13 million Wilderness AT tires installed on Explorers and other models, saying the company did not have “enough confidence in the future performance” of the tires. By late 2001, 271 people in the U.S. and dozens more overseas had died as a result of Explorer rollover accidents involving Firestone tire blowouts, according to FairWarning, Inc. As Ford and Firestone pointed the finger at each other, both companies became the target of lawsuits, and a 95-year business relationship came to a bitter end.

The NHTSA reports that approximately 46 million tires have been recalled in the United States since 1996. If you have been the victim of a tire-related car accident, or if a tire explosion seriously injured you, contact a qualified Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia personal injury lawyer today to learn about your legal rights.

About the Author
Peter DePaolis joined the firm in 1980 and has since represented a large number of individuals involved in automobile collisions, truck accidents, bus crashes, defective products, and medical malpractice cases. A significant portion of Mr. DePaolis’ practice is devoted to working on behalf of people suffering from asbestosis, mesothelioma, and other asbestos-related cancers. He has led his firm’s fight against the asbestos industry and has recovered over $30 million in damages for asbestos victims and their families.