Federal Safety Agency Investigates Tire Deaths

August 4, 2000

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced it is currently probing 21 deaths in crashes of trucks and sport utility vehicles (SUVs) in which tire failure may have been a factor.

The investigation is focusing on Bridgestone Firestone ATX, ATX II and Wilderness tire lines, about which the NHTSA said it had received numerous reports of tread separation from consumers. Bridgestone Firestone stood by the safety of the tires and emphasized the importance of proper inflation and maintenance of the products.

The safety groups Strategic Safety and Public Citizen requested that Ford Motor Co. recall millions of Ford Explorer SUVs and Ranger small pickups which had Bridgestone Firestone s fitted as standard equipment. The automaker, which is conducting its own investigation, indicated that other vehicles which have had the tires as standard equipment over the last decade include most Ford Expedition and Mercury Mountaineer SUVs and F-Series full-size pickups.

Bridgestone Firestone invited customers who have concerns about the tires to visit a Firestone tire center to receive a free inspection for damage, excessive wear and proper inflation.

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