Court Filing Alleges Nearly 100 Deaths or Injuries from Goodyear RV Tires
Tire manufacturer says it's cooperating with federal safety probe but can't comment further, citing pending litigation.
Federal safety officials investigating whether some older Goodyear motorhome tires may fail and cause deadly crashes also say they've received related reports of one death and 13 injuries.
But the toll could be significantly higher, according to documents filed in a court case in Arizona.
"There were at least 98 death or injury claims and well in excess of 600 property damage claims caused by G159 failures," according to a Jan. 9, 2017, filing with an Arizona superior court by attorneys for a Tucson family that claim their front RV tire blew in 2003, leading to a devastating crash.
The tires, made between 1996 and 2003, have reportedly led to at least 40 legal cases over the past decade, many of which were settled and led to confidentiality agreements that kept details under wraps.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently opened a probe into whether roughly 40,000 Goodyear motorhome tires still in use may fail and cause potentially deadly crashes, saying the number of claims filed against the country's biggest tire maker suggest a possible safety defect.
"The idea that there are only 13 injuries and one death is ridiculous," said Jason Levine, executive director of the Center for Auto Safety, which is trying to get information described as confidential by Goodyear publicly released.
"The allegations total almost 100 deaths or injuries related to the tires," said Levine, citing court filings on behalf of plaintiffs, some of Goodyear's responses and news stories.
Levine's consumer advocacy group believes the 98 deaths or injury count to be accurate, based on its reviews of court testimony. "If Goodyear has a different number, they're not sharing it," he said.
Goodyear said it is cooperating with the government, but could not comment further, due to pending litigation.
The NHTSA said it was given documents related to the tires under a court order that does not allow the agency to release the information.