I'm writing regarding TB's Oct. 14 articles headlined, ``Tire explosions cause two deaths'' and ``Goodyear ordered to pay $24 million'' in a tire-related injury case. I owned and operated an independent tire dealership in California's San Joaquin Valley from 1940 until 1995, when I sold the shop and retired.
We carried passenger, truck and farm tires, most of our sales being in farm implement and tractor sizes.
Thankfully, in all the years we were in business we had no major accidents or injuries.
We offered on-the-farm service seven days a week, 24 hours a day. I personally took most weekend and after-hours service calls for over 30 years and constantly trained our field service personnel to take every precaution necessary and to use common sense.
Reading about the deaths and injury caused by tire explosions, I was sickened knowing such situations could have been prevented.
As for the Goodyear lawsuit, a 23-year-old tire never should have been sold or installed on a rim. To blame the tire's bead or even the flammable substance used while inflating it is utter nonsense.
The tire's age was the major factor—and it doesn't matter who manufactured it. The DOT code numbers should have been read. A tire that old never would have been sold in my shop.
Those tragic cases caused me to realize the critical need for training in tire safety procedures. That training can be in the form of clinics or workshops, but hands-on or one-on-one training is most effective.
I currently work part-time in this capacity. But after reading about situations like these, I intend to make my experience more available to other tire businesses. I don't want to read about more such accidents in the future.
P.O. Box 668
Tulare, Calif. 93274