Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. could face a $105 million fine if it failed to properly report crashes to federal regulators that involve a RV tire linked to nearly 100 injuries and deaths, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s interim chief, Heidi King, told Congress last month.
This story by Ryan Felton originally appeared on Jalopnik.
In a June 12 letter to the U.S. House subcommittee on digital commerce and consumer protection, King also put to rest a question that NHTSA left unanswered when it announced an investigation earlier this year into complaints that the tire, Goodyear’s G159, was “not designed for extended use at highway speeds as would be experienced during motor home operation.”
NHTSA explained that it wasn’t obligated to report some of the crashes as stipulated under federal law, at the time the probe was announced. That’s because of a small technicality with federal law, King said in her letter. But records show Goodyear nonetheless still appears to have underreported the total number of crashes.
The tire manufacturer has been facing increased scrutiny over the G159 tires, which were manufactured between 1996 and 2003. An estimated 40,000 ended up on RVs, and the tire failed on as many as one-in-10 motorhomes—a failure rate that surpasses the infamous Firestone tires of the 1990s.
At least 41 lawsuits have been filed over crashes involving the tire, alleging the G159 was prone to heat-induced failure when used at highway speeds.
Goodyear didn’t respond to a request for comment.