The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Office of Inspector General has opened an investigation into allegedly defective Goodyear tires for recreational vehicles, which have already been linked to 100 injuries and fatalities. According to a news report on Jalopnik.com, Goodyear is already facing an investigation and a maximum $105 million fine over the tire, the G159, from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which is looking into whether the company failed to properly report the defect and crashes to federal regulators.
The Office of Inspector General is an independent law enforcement agency. Unlike the NHTSA, its team includes criminal investigators who can refer cases to the U.S. Department of Justice for criminal prosecution in addition to civil fines. Jalopnik obtained information about this criminal investigation after submitting a Freedom of Information Act request. This office oversees auto safety investigations and its top priorities include crimes that have an impact on consumer safety and consumer fraud.
Focus on Defective RV Tires
The scrutiny over Goodyear’s G159 RV tires has increased ever since NHTSA launched an investigation early this year. The safety agency has been investigating claims that the tires were prone to heat-induced failure when used on RVs at highway speeds. The alleged tire defects have been linked to at least 10 deaths and 90 injuries. The tires in question were manufactured between 1996 and 2003 and about 40,000 ended up on RVs and motorhomes. According to court records, these tires failed in one out of 10 motorhomes. Jalponik says this is a failure rate that surpasses the Firestone tires of the 1990s.
At least 41 known lawsuits have been filed over crashes involving these Goodyear RV tires. The company settled almost every case, which meant plaintiffs were not allowed to send information to regulators until a court order authorized that disclosure to NHTSA last year. The company has not issued a safety recall for these tires to date. Instead, the company has maintained that its tires are not defective.
Holding Corporations Accountable
It is unacceptable for a corporation to brazenly violate safety regulations that are in place to protect consumers. To not divulge a dangerous defect that could kill and maim people is absolutely unacceptable. We hope federal investigations give this investigation their due diligence and hold those responsible for this oversight accountable. If you or a loved one has been injured or if you have lost a loved one as the result of a Goodyear RV tire, please contact an experienced auto defect attorney who will provide you with more information about pursuing your legal rights.