WASHINGTON (June 16, 2003) — The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has ruled it will not reopen the investigation of Firestone Steeltex R4S, R4SII and A/T radial tires it closed in April 2002.
Pasadena, Calif., plaintiffs' attorney Joseph L. Lisoni petitioned NHTSA to reopen the investigation, claiming that Steeltex tires are inherently defective. Agency officials, however, disagreed strongly with Mr. Lisoni.
“An enormous population of tires is at issue whose failure rate is lower than that of peer tires used in similar applications,” NHTSA wrote in the Federal Register notice denying the petition.
The decision is a vindication for Nashville, Tenn.-based Bridgestone/Firestone, which has said all along that Steeltex tires are safe. Mr. Lisoni has a class-action lawsuit in California Superior Court seeking the recall of 30 million Steeltex tires; it was unclear at press time whether that case would proceed.