A recent expose by Jalopnik has called the Goodyear G159 RV tire “the worst tire made in history,” and tied it to hundreds of crashes and several deaths. Evidence disclosed for the first time in an Arizona court on April 4, 2018 that the tire is linked to more than 700 complaints—including nine deaths, hundreds of crashes, and dozens of injuries.
Documents dated from 1996 to 2015 show a targeted cover-up of safety issues with the tire. Lawsuits against the company during this time also allege that Goodyear knew the secrecy about the tire would result in future injuries and fatalities. Further, after two decades of underreported claims of injuries and continuing sales, this tire is currently still on the road and possibly still causing injurious car accidents.
In 2017, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) opened an investigation into Goodyear’s G159 tire after it had been cited in over 40 lawsuits. Arizona Judge John Hannah unsealed the documents relating to these lawsuits after ruling that the potential risk to public health was more important than confidentiality. Jalopnik published these documents, under the threat of legal action from Goodyear. However, Judge Hannah ruled that Jalopnik could go ahead.
Motorhomes and RVs generally drive on the highway, and at speeds above 65mph. According to many of the lawsuits, at high speeds the G159 tires generate internal temperatures over 250 degrees, which causes them to blow out—resulting in damage, injury, and fatalities.
According to court documents, this particular tire failed in all positions on the vehicle—the front, rear inner, and rear outer. It failed in 17 brands of motorhomes across 39 separate models and almost all failures happened at highway speeds. The NHTSA started receiving reports more than 15 years ago, but that data was sealed under confidentiality agreements.
In 2006, the NHTSA reached out to Goodyear regarding the tires. At that point, Goodyear had about 74 casualty claims and was dealing with dozens of lawsuits throughout the country. However, they disclosed only about seven injuries to the NHTSA. Additionally, they were aware of about 450 crown separation issues with their tires, resulting in property damage claims, but told the NHTSA about only 58.
“User error” and secret settlements
Lawsuits and safety advocates allege that the tires were originally designed for delivery trucks and not recreational vehicles that travel at highway speeds. The court documents show that the company failed to conduct these high-speed tests on the tires until months after sales began. And, the first two tests actually failed at 75mph. Instead of releasing those results, Goodyear blamed them on user error.
Goodyear wrote, “[t]ire blowouts can be related to a number of facts, however the key ones being overload, under-inflation, vehicle speeds and road hazards.” It appears Goodyear was suggesting that over 700 claims of blowouts and injury were due to user error.
Settling claims behind closed doors, confidentiality agreements, and distorting or hiding evidence puts other consumers at risk. Until now, Goodyear has been able to sweep this issue under the rug. But now the NHTSA will be taking a closer look at the G159 and hopefully expose its dangers.
In the meantime, if you drive an RV, check your tires carefully and ensure you don’t have G159s. And if you’ve been hurt as a result of these tires, whether they were on your vehicle or someone else’s, please get in touch with us. We can help.
Here at Taylor & Ring, we want our clients to be safe out on the road. However, if you do get into a car accident, our attorneys are here to help. We work with people just like you in the Los Angeles area to get the compensation they’re owed for accidents due to the negligence of others. Contact our legal team today at 310.776.6390 or complete our contact form to schedule a consultation.
David Ring is a nationally renowned plaintiff’s personal injury trial attorney and has obtained multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements on behalf of seriously-injured individuals or families who have lost a loved one in a tragic accident. For more than 20 years, he has represented victims of sexual abuse, sexual harassment, assault, molestation and sexual misconduct in cases against a variety of employers and entities, including schools, churches and youth organizations.
He prides himself on providing aggressive, yet compassionate representation for children who have been sexually abused and women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted. Read more about David M. Ring.