Unsealed Court Docs: Goodyear Knew About Fatal RV Tire Failures for 20 Years; Feds Seeking Additional Records From Company

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Court documents unsealed yesterday by a judge in Arizona and obtained by Jalopnik contain an assortment of important revelations about what and when Goodyear knew about the G159, an RV tire manufactured by the company linked to at least 9 deaths, dozens of injuries and hundreds of crashes, and the subject of numerous lawsuits, since 1996.

Those documents had been sealed as part of settlements and court hearings, and thus largely hidden from public view. They also confirm information from Jalopnik's investigation into the tire, republished by Scene a couple of weeks ago, that found when installed on motorhomes, which are regularly driven at more than 65 mph, the G159 commonly suffered from heat-induced failure.



Among the revelations:

1) Goodyear received claims on failures of the G159 as early as 1996, the year it was first made.



2) Goodyear, in reports to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in 2006, drastically understated how many incidents the tire, dubbed "the worst tire ever made," was involved in, citing only 7 injuries to the NHTSA even though it'd received reports of more than 74, and citing 58 failures when it knew of at least 458.

3) Goodyear continued to receive reports of failures and injuries from the tire, of which it made an estimated 40,000 of between 1996 and 2003, up until at least 2015.

The NHTSA sent a letter to Goodyear this week requesting additional information from the company on what it knew about the tire's performance. It had previously agreed on Dec. 28, 2017, to open an investigation after receiving a request and information from David Kurtz, an attorney with an ongoing case against the company.

“Goodyear’s need to maintain the confidentiality of the information or materials produced pursuant to the protective order does not come close to outweighing the public’s need for access (through CAS) with respect to information that relates specifically to the G159 tire,” the judge, John Hannah, wrote. “That information—primarily concerning the tire’s design, its testing, the decision to market it for use on motor homes, and the adjustment data generated by consumer experience with it—should be made public because it relates to and reveals a substantial potential risk to public health or safety.”

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