Indiana Personal Injury Attorney Calls on Regulators to Save Lives by Banning Sale of Aged Tires

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Mike Stephenson, a partner with McNeely Stephenson of Indianapolis, said today that the tire industry should no longer be allowed to endanger motorists by selling dangerously old tires.

Indiana Attorney Mike Stephenson

Drivers should be aware that many manufacturers, including Ford, GM and Chrysler, recommend that tires more than six years old should not be used. It’s just not worth the risk.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), between 2005 and 2007 ninety people died and more than 3,200 were injured in crashes most likely caused or significantly affected by aged tires. After a multi-year study of tire degradation, the agency declined to add a tire-aging requirement to its light vehicle tire standard, despite the statement in its March 2014 report, “Tire Aging: A Summary of NHTSA’s Work,” that the aging process “can compromise [a tire’s] structural integrity and jeopardize its performance,” making it “more prone to failure, which could, at best cause an inconvenience, or at worst lead to a motor vehicle crash.”

Indianapolis attorney Mike Stephenson has long been aware of the dangers of old tires. “I’ve been representing people injured in Indiana vehicle accidents since 1982, and I know what can happen when a tire blows out on the highway,” Stephenson said. “In fact, I have a case pending right now in the Dearborn Superior Court [Madaris, et al. v. Michelin North America d/b/a B.F. Goodrich Tire Manufacturing, et al., Cause No. 15D01-1211-CT-054], which demonstrates the problem,” Stephenson said.

According to the Complaint, filed June 20, 2014, a 2012 accident on I-74 killed two people and critically injured another one when a tire suffered a tread belt separation, causing a pickup truck to cross the road and collide head-on with another car. Among other things, the tire manufacturer and distributor are alleged to have “fail[ed] to warn consumers, such as Plaintiffs, about the dangers and risks associated with tire aging.”

Stephenson said he hasn’t given up hope that legislative action will eventually prevent the sale of dangerously aged tires, even though the tire industry lobby has been able to defeat proposed legislation in eight states, according to ABC News. “I don’t think we’ve heard the last of this issue at all,” Stephenson said, pointing to a special investigation announced by the NTSB into tire-related crashes.

“In the meantime,” Stephenson said, “drivers should be aware that many manufacturers, including Ford, GM and Chrysler, recommend that tires more than six years old should not be used. It’s just not worth the risk. In the Dearborn case, two people died and another has more than $250,000 in medical bills because someone tried to save money by buying used tires and a retailer was willing to sell them defective goods.”

ABOUT MIKE STEPHENSON:

Mike Stephenson, a personal injury lawyer with McNeely Stephenson of Shelbyville, Indiana, near Indianapolis, has been successfully representing victims of motor vehicle accidents for more than three decades. He can be reached at 1-855-206-2555.

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