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Problems tracking down defective tires may cause accidents

Some Colorado residents who were involved in a car accident may suspect that faulty tires caused their vehicle or someone else's vehicle to crash and injure them. Tire-related accidents account for about 11,000 car accidents each year, injuring more than 6,300 people.

Tread separation and tire weakness resulting from manufacturing defects may cause blowouts and other incidents, causing drivers to quickly lose control of their vehicles. A 2013 pickup truck accident in Texas involved such a blowout which sent the truck rolling over. A passenger in that truck lost most of her right arm as a result of the accident.

The National Transportation Safety Board has a system in place for consumers to easily check online if their vehicles are included in recalls, but no such system exists to check if tires are included in manufacturer recalls. Whereas consumers can enter their vehicle identification numbers in recall databases, no equivalent information is present on individual tires, making them more difficult to track. A spokesperson from the Rubber Manufacturers Association noted that the lack of a registration system makes it difficult for tire companies to locate and contact consumers who own defective tires. These factors may contribute to the low rate of consumer responses to tire recalls. Only about 20 percent of recalled tires make it back to manufacturers.

Tire manufacturers produce millions of tires each year and ship them all over the United States. Because of unreliable tracking methods, it may take years for accident victims to identify the true cause of accidents resulting from defective tires. Product liability attorneys may be able to help accident victims determine whether their car accidents involving tire blowouts or other issues resulted from manufacturing defects.

Source: CBS News, "Unsafe tires a deadly risk on U.S. roads", Dec. 8, 2014

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