14 vehicles in Md. reported Firestone tire problems

Data shows one accident resulted in injuries to 2

September 08, 2000|By Todd Richissin and Mike Himowitz | Todd Richissin and Mike Himowitz,SUN STAFF

At least 14 sports utility vehicles traveling on Maryland roads ran into problems with Bridgestone/Firestone tire failures, including one accident that caused the vehicle to slam into a tree, injuring the driver and passenger, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data.

That accident accounted for the only injuries involving Bridgestone/Firestone tire failures in the state, according to the data. There were no reported fatalities.

The data was analyzed by The Sun using a database provided by the safety administration. It included incidents reported up to Aug. 31.

Tim Herd, a spokesman for the agency, said reports are being received daily.

Marylanders have been relatively fortunate in the number of incidents involving the Bridgestone/Firestone tires, more than 6 million of which were recalled Aug. 9 and are the subject of congressional hearings and lawsuits.

Nationwide, the traffic safety administration has received more than 1,400 complaints, including reports of 88 deaths and 250 injuries that may be linked to the tires.

In Maryland, eight of the 14 reported tire failures involved Ford Explorers, but none involved rollovers.

Summaries of the incidents provide a glimpse into what drivers have faced on the road. One tire came apart, according to the database, when the vehicle was traveling at 20 mph.

"Driver rear tire blew out causing vehicle to spin into oncoming traffic," reads one summary. Another said, "Tire blew, entire sidewall separated from the rest of the tire." And the incident that caused the injuries: "Vehicle began to vibrate and tire blew. Vehicle hit a tree, injuring occupants."

Hot weather has been identified as a factor in the failures.

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