WASHINGTON (Jan. 3, 2003)—Officials of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have asked class action attorneys in Pasadena, Calif., for more information to substantiate their claims that the Firestone Steeltex tire is inherently defective and must be recalled.
Among other things, NHTSA has identified only “a fraction” of the 2,972 Steeltex complaints the attorneys claim the agency has on file, NHTSA said in a letter. Also, the agency isn't aware of the more than 7,000 U.S. tire failure reports and 3,000 foreign failures the lawyers say they have.
Kathleen DeMeter, director of NHTSA's Office of Defects Investigation, said in the letter that the agency will conduct a technical review of the available information. The class action lawyers, led by Joseph L. Lisoni of Pasadena, are trying to persuade NHTSA to reopen the investigation of Steeltex tires it terminated in April 2002, after 18 months of research.