WASHINGTON (Aug. 17, 2000)—State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance made a routine e-mail warning to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration two years ago about the failure rates in Firestone ATX, ATX II and Wilderness tires, a State Farm spokesman said.
That e-mail informed NHTSA that the insurer knew of 21 claims which possibly involved tire failure. "In the handling of claims, State Farm sometimes notices trends, and when we do, we will notify NHTSA and the company," the spokesman said.
State Farm´s communications with Bridgestone/Firestone Inc. on the issue were "limited to seeking reimbursement on behalf of policyholders," he added.
The safety agency never responded to the insurer´s e-mail, but wouldn´t necessarily be expected to in such a case, the spokesman said.
A NHTSA spokeswoman said she knew of no communication from State Farm on the Firestone issue, but was still looking into the matter.
In a media conference call, a Bridgestone/Firestone spokeswoman said State Farm "never made a formal filing with Bridgestone/Firestone or NHTSA" on the failure rates of the tires.