Aug. 9, 2000

Public Citizen Applauds Recall of Firestone Tires,
Action Should Have Come Sooner

Statement of Joan Claybrook, Public Citizen President

It's about time that Bridgestone/Firestone acted in the public's best interest and in the interest of safety by recalling its defective ATX, ATX II and Wilderness tires. The 46 deaths that have been reported are only those that are known publicly. It s likely that there are many others that have not been attributed to the tires.

More than 100 lawsuits have been filed for serious injuries or deaths. The shame of this situation is that both Ford and Bridgestone/Firestone have known about this problem for eight years. The companies have settled a number of lawsuits under gag orders, which prohibited the lawyers or victims in the cases from talking about them. As a result, safety officials and the public have been kept in the dark.

We urge Bridgestone/Firestone, Ford and the Department of Transportation to carry out this recall as rapidly as possible so that no more preventable deaths occur as a result of this catastrophic tire defect.