NHTSA denies Bridgestone/Firestone's request to open Ford Explorer investigation

Feb. 13, 2002

"The data does not support Firestone's contention that Explorers stand out from other SUVs with respect to its handling characteristics following a tread separation," says Jeffrey Runge, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) administrator.

Bridgestone/Firestone Americas Holding (BFAH) Inc. had claimed that Explorers exhibit a poor margin of control in the hands of average drivers following tread separations.

NHTSA contends that Explorers are no more likely to crash due to tread separations than other SUVs.

However, the agency does admit that SUVs "have a greater tendency to roll over during a crash than passenger cars. In 2000, 62% of all SUV fatalities were the result of rollover, compared to 22% for passenger cars."