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Are defective tire recalls effective?

California consumers no longer have to wait until they receive notification from an auto manufacturer to find out about a car recall. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration provides a vehicle product recall finder on its website. Recall information is available by simply by entering a vehicle identification number.

The process works because vehicles are registered. That's fine when there's a defect in the vehicle, but what if the flaw is in your tires? The government provides no defective tire recall site although maybe it could if a tire registration system was developed.

Old and faulty tires are responsible for about 11,000 traffic accidents, almost 200 deaths and about 6,000 injuries nationwide each year. Drivers lose control and crash following a blowout. Some tire-related accidents are caused by worn or old tires and others are due to manufacturing defects – both types of crashes are preventable.

Consumers can avoid blowouts by following carmakers and tire manufacturers' instructions. Blowout risks are reduced when tires are replaced after a recommended number of miles or years. Accidents caused by tire defects aren't so easy to prevent – consumers have to know about a recall to remedy the problem.

Tire safety experts claimed consumer responses to defective tire recalls in 2014 were about 20 percent. That indicates 80 percent of affected drivers miss the opportunity to have a problem corrected. In many cases, vehicle owners have no idea a dangerous product defect exists.

One problem is tires don't contain adequate information to help consumers figure out whether a recall applies. According to an official with the Rubber Manufacturers Association, the lack of a registration system causes tire makers to lose track of tire owners.

The National Transportation Safety Board is taking tire recall problems seriously, but hasn't determined how to resolve the issues. Manufacturers shoulder the responsibility for recalls and negligence when faulty products injure or kill consumers.

Source: CBS News, "Unsafe tires a deadly risk on U.S. roads" accessed Mar. 06, 201

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