“Better late than never”—that’s what Arizona lawyer David Kurtz said after hearing the news that the government is moving on with the investigation of Goodyear’s faulty recreational vehicle (RV) tires.
The company, one of the largest tire manufacturers in the world, is under fire as a federal grand jury investigation is launched in Los Angeles (California) against its recalled G159 RV tires that were said to have killed at least eight and injured 69 since 1998.
According to a report by the Associated Press, while it is unclear what the jury is probing, the investigation includes the gathering of evidence, as well as a federal grand jury’s issuance of subpoena to Kurtz for any and all documents and deposition transcripts related to a lawsuit he filed against the company.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in 2017 conducted an initial investigation when a case was filed regarding the safety of these tires.
It was only in the following year that the tire maker cooperated with NHTSA’s investigation while standing its ground that the tires were not defective but were being underinflated or overloaded by customers.
The tires in question have been found to have a defect that leads to loss of vehicle control.
“The safety-related defect is a clear, identified failure that leads to a loss of vehicle control, causing crashes and potentially catastrophic consequences such as death and serious injury,” NHTSA wrote in a letter seeking the recall.
NHTSA documents point out that tire tread can separate from the body, causing drivers to lose control and increasing the risk of a crash.
Goodyear ceased production of the said tires in 2003. Instead of a recall, Goodyear launched a customer satisfaction campaign to replace some of the G159 tires.
The company began receiving injury reports in 1998. Meanwhile, death claims began from 2002 until 2006, a February 2022 NHTSA letter to Goodyear revealed.
Last year, the company has finally decided to recall 173,000 of its 22.5-inch-diameter G159 RV tires.
According to the NHTSA, the recall campaign, which was 20 years late, should have been done within five working days of becoming aware of a defect, which Goodyear apparently knew of as early as 2002.
The AP report also mentions that NHTSA documents show that the company had replaced only 13 of the tires as of January 13.