Products Liability and Recalls

Have your been injured by a defective vehicle or tire?  Any manufacturer selling in the United States has a duty to warn consumers about any unsafe product, and under certain circumstances, has a duty to recall a dangerous product.  U.S. governmental agencies have revised their regulations to require reporting of more safety issues, in order to better protect consumers. For vehicles, new criteria for the ratings system include side pole testing, using different sized test dummies and collecting more crash data.
There are ways to get more detailed information on crash and rollover tests:

Via the U.S. DOT’s docket management system. Vehicle crash test reports from 1999 to present, and details of rollover ratings from 2001 to present, can be downloaded from the DOT docket at // Conduct a Simple Search and use the following docket numbers:

For detailed rollover rating reports (2001 to present), enter docket #8298.

For detailed frontal NCAP crash test reports (1999 to present), enter docket #4962

For detailed side NCAP crash test reports (1999 to present), enter docket #3835.

Via NHTSA’s Research and Development web page by clicking here. The Vehicle Crash Test Database contains engineering data measured for several NHTSA program offices involved in crash testing vehicles, including Research, the New Car Assessment Program (NCAP), as well as Compliance. To view NCAP crash test data, ensure your search is limited to New Car Assessment Tests.

Via the National Crash Analysis Center (NCAC). For a fee, all of NHTSA’s NCAP vehicle test reports and high speed films are available from George Washington University’s National Crash Analysis Center Library, Suite 203, 20101 Academic Way, Ashburn, VA 22011. Phone (703) 726-8236. Fax (703)726-8358. //

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHSTA) reports that tire failures cause thousands of traffic accidents resulting in death or serious injuries each year. These tire failures are often caused by a manufacturing or a design defect.

A defective tire can fail in several ways. A blowout or sidewall failure is usually evidenced by a hole in the side wall. The most dangerous tire failure is from a tread separation which occurs on steel belted radial tires when the bond between the two steel belts disintegrates, the outer belt becomes disconnected from the tire, and the tread peels off. This separation may result in loss of all or part of the tread and affects the ability to control the vehicle. Often, there is a loss of control by the driver as a result of the difficulty in handling.

After the Ford/Firestone tire recall and the subsequent litigation it was determined that tread separations tend to occur later in the life of a tire – usually after three years. Tread separations can occur due to design defects or other causes that occurred during the assembly and manufacturing process. Some of the most common manufacturing defects include contamination during the tire building process, misalignment or misplacement of the belts, nylon strips or other tire components.  Used car dealers can also be liable for failure to provide adequately safe tires for a used car or truck.

If you believe an accident was caused by a defective tire, and you have serious injuries or a loved onewho has suffered serious injuries or been killed, it is important to save the tire so it can be examined by a tire expert. Do not release the totalled car or truck to the insurance company for disposal.  Save not only the tire left on the rim, but any pieces of tire that came off or are found on the road after a collision.