According to reports, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) began the probe after a court ordered Goodyear to release data from previous lawsuits, which had been sealed under court orders and confidential settlement agreements.
Data obtained revealed that a number of G159 tires manufactured by the company failed while in use, resulting in deaths and injuries. NHTSA says the number of claims suggest the recurring failures could be a sign of a larger defect in the tires.
Currently, the investigation covers roughly 40,000 tires manufactured between 1996 and 2003.
The agency has also received 10 complaints of tire failure, including two that resulted in crashes. Documents cite reports to Goodyear, including one death and 13 injuries.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that defective tires are responsible for nearly 8,000 motor vehicle accidents every year. Additionally, according to a report by Michelin, approximately 535 deaths and 23,000 collisions result from tire blowouts annually.
Common causes of tire failure include: