NHTSA denies petitions to investigate Firestone Steeltex tires again

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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has shot down two petitions submitted by California law firm Lisoni & Lisoni that asked the agency to begin investigating all Firestone Steeltex tires made since 1995 for defects.

Lisoni & Lisoni also asked NHTSA to investigate all Steeltex tires installed on ambulances for defects.

"After a review of the petition and other information, NHTSA has concluded that further expenditure of the agency´s investigative resources on the issues raised in the petitions does not appear warranted," say NHTSA officials.

Lisoni & Lisoni claimed that all Steeltex tires built during the last nine years are defective and that Steeltex tires mounted on ambulances pose an unacceptable safety risk.

The law firm also claimed that "Firestone cost reduction efforts compromised Steeltex tire durability," according to NHTSA.

The agency has determined that Steeltex tires "overall do not stand out from their peers in terms of failure rates, and there are no indications of a defect trend."

NHTSA closed its official investigation into Firestone Steeltex R4S, R4S II and A/T tires in April 2002.

Last February, Bridgestone/Firestone North American Tire LLC (BFNT) initiated a voluntary safety campaign in the U.S. to replace 297,000 Steeltex Radial A/T tires in size LT265/75R16 Load Range D mounted on 2000-2002 and some early 2003 model year Ford Excursions. BFNT no longer manufactures the tire. The action was taken due to "performance issues" brought to BFNT´s attention via its early warning system.

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