February 26, 2004 - Bridgestone Firestone announces tire recall after 5 deaths are linked
A recall was issued on about 490,000 Steeltex tires that has so far been linked to 14 SUV crashes leaving five people dead. According to the company, it was first made aware of the tire defect two months prior to the recall when it learned of the 14 crashes involving SUVs with the Steeltex tires. The Steeltex LT265/75R16 Load Range D tires are what is being recalled.
The tire recall is the second such recall in the past 4 years for Bridgestone and Firestone. In 2001, the company had to recall 17 million tires that were linked to over 200 deaths and hundreds of injuries due to tire tread separation causing rollover crashes. There were many lawsuits that followed that tire recall, costing the company an estimated $1.5 billion. Though it is not likely to see as many lawsuits, there is a hearing scheduled to determine if a class action lawsuit will develop out of the recent developments. The suit alleges substandard materials were used to make a Steeltex model not covered by the recall.