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Investigation links more RV accidents to Goodyear G159 tires

Investigation links more accidents to Goodyear G159 tires

More than 100 injuries and deaths have been linked to a specific Goodyear tire. That number is still growing as old accident reports are matched up with the potentially defective tires.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is re-examining the safety of the G159 tire. If the tire is found to be defective, it could trigger a mass recall and additional lawsuits against Goodyear.

The tire was not orginally meant for RVs

According to an in-depth report by Jalopnik.com, which covers the automotive industry, Goodyear designed the G159 tire for delivery vehicles but later applied it to tens of thousands of recreational vehicles (RVs). There are several problems with the tires:

  • An English version of the G159 was over half an inch bigger in diameter, which caused a dangerous mismatch when paired with the U.S. version. A number of fatalities were linked to the English tires on American RVs.

  • The tire itself has alleged designed flaws which cause it to distort or overheat at freeway speeds, leading to tire blowouts. Some experts say the tire cannot handle 75 mph. The failure rate of the tire on RVs may have been as high as 1 in 10, making it more defective than the famous Firestone tires that caused so many SUV rollover deaths.

The tires were manufactured from 1996 to 2003, but thousands are still on the road. Many RV accidents that were never specifically linked to tire failure are getting a second look from the NHTSA and plaintiffs’ attorneys.

Goodyear denies its tires are unsafe

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration opened a probe in early 2018 after an Arizona attorney sued to unseal court records relating to G159 accidents. To date, more than 100 accidents resulting in injury or fatality have been identified, along with several hundred property damage claims.

Despite internal memos that have surfaced, Goodyear maintains that there is no design defect with the G159 tires and no safety issue with putting them on RVs. The automaker has suggested that accidents were caused by owner negligence -- under-inflation or driver error.

Sealed court documents helped cover up the truth

At least one RV manufacturer voluntarily recalled the tires after the spate of fatalities. But all these years later Goodyear has still not issued a wider recall. Many of those early settlements with victims or their families were ordered sealed, so that the public and even government officials were not aware of how widespread the problem was.

These patterns are common with automobile defects. Manufacturers deny any problem, while working hard to keep lawsuits and adverse findings under wraps. Currently millions of U.S. cars and trucks are subject to recall for defective Takata airbags despite injuries and deaths dating back to at least 2009.

Our product liability attorneys are adept at the process of exposing flawed products and peeling back the layers to show that automakers knew or should have known of the dangers.

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