November 16th 2015 by Brian Chase
The federal recall system, which is intended to keep defective and potentially dangerous car tires off the road is “completely broken,” federal safety regulators have said.
According to an NBC News report, accident investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said that tire problems cause 33,000 accidents and kill more than 500 motorists each year.
However, only one in five defective tires is being taken out of service through safety recalls. That means more than half of recalled tires remain in use.
Dr. Rob Molloy, acting director of the NTSB’s Office of Highway Safety said the system is absolutely useless to consumers. The problem, according to the NTSB report, is that tire manufacturers cannot reach tire owners to warn them.
Independent tire dealers are not required to register the tires they sell with manufacturers. So, most of them just don’t do it. Between 2009 and 2013, 3.2 million defective tires were recalled. However, a majority of drivers are still using them unaware of the recalls.
Even mechanics have no way of knowing about tire recalls, officials said.
Lack of Monitoring and Oversight
Yes, when it comes to recalled tires, it’s the wild, wild, west. Drivers will be surprised to find out that there is no government or industry database to notify owners or mechanics about recalled tires.
It is also a distressing fact that when consumers go into a shop and have their tires inspected, no one can tell them if they have a recalled tire on their car in 2015.
Investigators say there have been several accidents in 2014 that have been linked to defective tires including a multi-passenger van that crashed in Lake City, Florida. In that case, two passengers died and eight others were injured.
The van’s tire had been recalled more than a year before the crash because of an internal defect, but had not been registered with the manufacturer.
In 2014, Joan Morro was killed and her husband injured after a recalled tire on their pickup blew and caused the driver to lose control of the vehicle. That fatal accident was caused by a recalled Michelin tire. While Morro died, her husband suffered multiple fractures, brain and eye injuries.
Consumers Need to Know
As product liability lawyers who represent victims of dangerous and defective products including auto parts, we agree 100 percent with the NTSB’s recommendation. Congress must mandate tire registration in addition to requiring drivers to register their tires with manufacturers.
This usually entails sending your name, address and tire identification number to the manufacturer. Consumers need to know when they are driving with faulty tires. These are potentially deadly defects.
Without reliable tires, we are putting ourselves and our families in danger.