Wal-Mart Must Pay $18.9 Million For Fatal Tire-Blowout Accident


Posted on 4th February 2013 by gjohnson in Uncategorized

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A jury has awarded $18.9 million in damages against Wal-Mart Stores for an accident caused by a tire blowout that killed three people, according to Lawyers USA Online.


The panel in Maryland found Wal-Mart liable for installing a new tire on an eroded rim, which caused the fatal accident.

The three victims, a mother and her two children, were among eight people who were in a minivan that was returning from California to Maryland. The vehicle’s left rear tire had a flat when they hit Iowa, and they had a new tire put on the rim, Lawyers USA Online reported.

After a new tire was mounted on the rim, the family drove about eight hours before the tire blew out in Indiana, with Lindora Cornejo Calderon of Hyattsville, Md., and her two children killed in the accident, according to Lawyers USA Online.

Attorney’s for the three estates, as well as three others hurt in the crash, filed a negligence suit against the giant retailer and the car’s driver. The jury cleared the driver of any liability last month,

Wal-Mart’s lawyer told Lawyers USA Online that it is considering appealing the verdict.

The accident took place on Nov. 7, 2009, when the tire went flat. The group was driving east on Interstate 80 after having the new tire put on when the driver swerved to avoid something in the road, said Lawyers USA Online,

That’s when the tire blew and the driver lost control, with the vehicle rolling over several times. As a result, Vega sustained a brain injury and lost part of his right leg, according to Lawyers USA Online. Villanueva injured her  right hand in the crash.

The trial in Prince George’s County Circuit Court took nine days in January.

Global Market For Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems Projected To Hit $3 Billion By 2017


Posted on 10th September 2011 by gjohnson in Uncategorized

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The global market for Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems (TPMS), which can help prevent accidents caused by under-inflated tires, will reach $3 billion by 2017, according to a comprehensive report by the research firm Global Industry Analysts (GIA).


In summary, the report found that growth in the TPMS market will be “driven by resurgence in automotive industry and stringent legislations focusing on active road safety measures… (the) focus on fuel efficiency, growing popularity of run-flat tires and product innovation/differentiation strategies adopted by manufacturers.”

U.S. legislation that makes integration of TPMS mandatory in all cars has and will continue to drive growth, according to the GIA report.

“The market will gain additional momentum when similar legislation is passed in Europe by 2012 or 2014,” according to GIA.

Unevenly inflated tires, which compromise the stability and balance of the vehicle, increase the risk of car crashes. And beyond the tragedy of someone losing life or limb in an accident, the costs stemming from vehicular accidents  and government legisaltion mandating TPMS use will be the force behind developments in the safety devices, according to GIA.

There is already some legislations in place in the United States, and more that’s yet to be implemented in Europe and Asia.  Those factors will dictate growth in the TPMS market, according to GIA.

“Over the last decade, governments around the world have focused on legislating active road safety measures, given the rise in the number of casualties on road worldwide,” GIA said in a press release. “Unlike in the United States, where the TPMS legislation was solely driven by safety issues triggered by the massive recall of tires due to tread separation in the year 2000, in Europe TPMS legislations are driven by fuel efficiency benefits and reduction of CO2 emissions.”

In addition, GIA said, “With the exception of South Korea, Asia-Pacific, in comparison, has no mandatory TPMS legislations and market penetration currently remains low. However, success in lobbying efforts in mandating TPMS in the region could result in Asia emerging into a driving force in the world TPMS market.”

Auto makers have two choices as to what technology to deploy in monitoring tire pressure: direct or indirect TPMS technology. And according to GIA, roght now direct TPMS are considered as technologically superior for meeting required safety standards.

Direct TPMS have the deepest penetration in the United States, accordingn to GIA,  because of its ability to meet the stringent National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration final ruling requiring all vehicles to be installed with a four-tire TPMS capable of detecting a ‘more than 25 percent under-inflated tire, while simultaneously sending a warning signal to the vehicle dashboard within a detection threshold of 20 minutes.

However, the market could completely change in the event of successful technology innovations that help indirect TPMS match the accuracy levels of direct TPMS. Currently, spearheading developments in this space is NIRA Dynamics’ Tire Pressure Indicator (TPI), an indirect TPMS capable of detecting tire under inflation in all four tires and designed to meet both American FMVSS 138 and the European ECE R-64 safety regulations on tire pressure.

Given that market opportunities for TPMS are largely depend on the overall health of the automobile industry, the current worldwide recession temporarily has held back growth in the global TPMS market, GIA said. The trickle-down impact of the depressing business climate in the automotive industry on this market was reflected in the growth rates, which largely failed to meet the optimistic expectations of the pre-recession era.

“While the slump in new car sales displaced business opportunities at large, postponements of aftermarket purchases of safety systems, solutions and products, as a result of consumers’ preference to delay or even cancel discretionary purchases during difficult economic conditions, squeezed opportunities for TPMS in the aftermarket sector,” GIA said in its press release. “Expensive aftermarket electronic installations especially have been impacted, a direct fallout of weakening employment rates, consumer income and spending power.”

According to the GIA, ” With automotive production increasing, most cars scheduled for roll out in the upcoming years will come high on safety features, next generation automotive safety technologies. Regulatory riders that mandate the use of TPMS together with the strategy of wielding these systems as key brand differentiating factors will continue to encourage OEM’s interest in TPMS.”

TPMS manufacturers will be under pressure to reduce the cost of expensive systems, which are no longer considered as optional extras.

“Product-development efforts are largely geared towards achieving low maintenance, operating costs, and more accurate and reliable monitoring of tire pressure,” GIA said in its reelase. “Provision of value-added features, such as measurement of pressure, temperature and  torque to provide additional benefits, such as complete data analysis so as to invoke changes in driving style to extend tire life, is also rising in popularity as a competitive tool.”

Product-development efforts, including those targeted at Wireless TPMS that eliminate the need for additional electronics to make a wired connection, are expected to generate new opportunities in the short- to medium-term period.

Major players in the marketplace include Alps Electric Co., Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems LLC, BorgWarner BERU Systems GmbH, Continental AG, Delphi Automotive LLP, Dunlop Tech GmbH, General Electric Co., Hella KGaA Hueck & Co., Kavlico Corp., NIRA Dynamics AB, PressurePro, Pacific Industrial Co., Robert Bosch GmbH, Schrader Electronics Ltd, Silicon Microstructures Inc., Transense Technologies Plc, TRW AutomotiveHoldings Corp. and VTI Technologies Oy.

The research report titled “Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems (TPMS): A Global Strategic Business Report” announced by Globa Industry Analysts provides a comprehensive review of market trends, drivers, company profiles and key strategic industry activities. The report analyzes the global TPMS market for all major geographic markets, including the United States, Europe (France, Germany, Italy, United Kingdom, Spain) and other parts of the world.









Two Tampa Bay Area Drivers Killed In Separate Tire Blowout Crashes


Posted on 14th August 2011 by gjohnson in Uncategorized

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In separate accidents in the Tampa Bay area of Florida, two drivers were killed when tires on their vehicles blew out.

The fatal accidents took place within about a week of each other, in Clearwater and St. Petersburg.

On July 28, Terry Lee Colston, 55, of Clearwater was driving a Ford Explorer on Interstate 4 when its rear tire blew out, according to the St. Petersburg Times. The SUV, which also was carrying four children, spun and turned over.   


Colston died at Lakeland Regional Medical Center, while his son Robert Colston, 11, was hospitalized with critical injuries, according to the newspaper. The three other children in the van, Sarah Colston, 11, Jake Colston, 10, and Maxwell Watson, 10, were also treated at the hospital for minor injuries.   

Then on Aug. 6, a Palm Harbor man was killed, and his 12-year-old son badly hurt, when a tire on their minivan blew out, the St. Petersburg Times reported.


Driver Shane Chancy, 37, was driving on the Sunshine Skyway bridge in St. Petersburg when the tire went, and his minivan struck a guardrail and turned over. Chancy was thrown from the vehicle and killed. His son was hospitalized.

How Unsafe Firestone Tires Took, And Shattered, People’s Lives


Posted on 7th January 2011 by gjohnson in Uncategorized

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USA Today put on a face on the victims of faulty Firestone tires by interviewing their surviving families. It makes for a compelling story.


Federal regulators claim that accidents involving Firestone tires caused 148 deaths and more than 525 injuries, according to USA Today.

In one of the cases described in the article, Eve Monson of Albuquerque, N.M., talks about her granddaughter, Lori Erickson. The 25-year-old and her husband Scott, 28, were killed on Memorial Day when the tread on a Firestone tire on her Ford Explorer came off. The vehicle rolled six five times.

Lori, who was five months pregnant, was killed in the accident, as was her husband.

Monson and Scott’s mother, Christine Demijohn, remain devastated by the deaths of their loved ones. Demijohn is angry at Ford and Firestone, because she believes they were aware of the problems with the tires. Her family has planted crosses at the spot where the accident took place.

Because of her agony, Monson is now on antidepressants. And she has dreams where her granddaughter shows up on her doorstep, saying she is finally back from a trip to Europe.

If that isn’t wish fulfillment, what is?   


Ford Van Design Led To Tire-Blowout That Killed Six, Expert Says


Posted on 21st September 2010 by gjohnson in Uncategorized

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The six victims of a crash last weekend, who were killed when their van blew a rear tire and rolled over repeatedly in New York, had two things going against them. One they could not control, the second they could have. 

First, an auto safety expert explained in the New York Post Monday that the van involved in the accident, a 1997 Ford Econoline, has design flaws that make it susceptible to tire blowouts. 


Byron Bloch, an expert witness in auto-safety cases, said that the 15-passenger van that members of a Queens church congregation were traveling in has “a high center of gravity, a narrow wheel base and a poor suspension system,” according to the Post. Bloch said that all creates stress on the van’s rear tires, stress that increases when the vehicle has a lot of passengers.

There were 14 members of the Joy Fellowship Christian Assembly on the van when it blew its rear tire Saturday afternoon. The van then went out of control and repeatedly flipped over on the New York Thruway near the Woodbury Commons outlet mall, killing the church’s bishop and pastor, as well as four others.

Bloch has called for Ford to redesign its van, which he deems dangerous,

Now here is something the congregation could have done, but didn’t, that could have saved lives. Many of them weren’t wearing seat belts. Seven people were thrown out of the van when it flipped. 

Block told the Post that Ford could have done something about that, too. If the Ford vans has shatterproof glass, that could have stopped passengers from being ejected from the van, according to Block.   

Now maybe Ford will address these issues. Maybe.


Jury Awards $18 Million In Rollover Death Of Boy In Case Against Dealer Who Installed Recalled Tire


Posted on 30th August 2010 by gjohnson in Uncategorized

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A California Superior Court jury has awarded $18 million to a Monrovia family who lost their 11-year-old son in an SUV rollover caused by the blowout of an aged, recalled Firestone Tire.


The jury found that Cerritos, Calif.-based American Tire Depot (ATD) was 85 percent negligent for installing a 12-year-old Firestone Radial ATX spare despite the fact that it had been recalled and Firestone inspection guidelines against using tires more than 10 years old.

Before the trial involving ATD, the Moreno family settled its suits against Ford Motor Co. and Bridgestone Americas. 

All the litigation stemmed from an accident May 24, 2006. Willie Moreno was the rear seat passenger in a Ford Explorer driven by his brother, Ramon Moreno Jr., when the left rear tire experienced a catastrophic tread separation on California Highway 15 in Riverside County, Calif.  Willie, who was wearing his seatbelt, was partially ejected in the rollover crash and died of massive head injuries.  

“This tragedy could have been easily prevented,” attorney Roger Braugh, who represented the Moreno family, said in a prepared statement. “The facts of this case showed very clearly that American Tire Depot did not offer even a minimum of professional attention to tire safety.”  

ATD had argued at trial that it didn’t install the recalled tire on the Moreno’s SUV.


In January 2006, Ramon Moreno Sr. brought the family’s 1994 Ford Explorer to ATD to replace two rear tires.  ATD, a Firestone dealer, advised Moreno to rotate the spare, a recalled Firestone Radial ATX, onto the vehicle and sold him one new tire.  

The Moreno family, who purchased the Explorer used in 2005, was unaware that the Firestone spare was 12 years old and part of the massive 2000 Firestone recall.

At the time ATD installed the recalled tire, both Ford and Firestone had issued warnings against using aged tires.  Firestone’s October 2005 dealer Technical Bulletin advised against the use of tires older than 10 years, regardless of the tread depth.

Ford also issued a warning in 2005 advising against the use of tires older than six years.  Ford’s warning stated “Tires degrade over time, even when they are not being used. . .  You should replace the spare tire when you replace the other road tires due to the aging of the spare tire.”

The tire techs at ATD didn’t follow these guidelines, nor did they check to determine if the tire was recalled, the Moreno family’s attorney had argued at trial.  

ATD acknowledged that it provided no training for its tire technicians on tire aging or how to read the tire date, which is embedded in the alphanumeric DOT code molded on the tire sidewall.  The company also admitted that it lacked any policies or procedures to identify and capture recalled tires.

An ATD store manager testified that he would provide the same service again; a company representative claimed he would expect a technician to do “nothing” if presented with an aged, recalled tire.

“In my years as a trial attorney, I’ve never come across a company that said they didn’t do it, but if they did, they’d do it again,” attorney Jason Hoelscher, who also represented the Morenos, said in a prepared statement.  “When a company takes that position, a jury needs to evaluate that company’s practices.”

Since the fatal accident, the Moreno family has been a vocal advocate for better tire safety laws. Ramon Moreno Jr., Willie’s brother, testified before the California Assembly in 2009, urging the Legislature to pass a bill requiring tire dealers to disclose tire age.

“Now all we can hope for is that Willie’s death can result in some positive change so that other families don’t have to live through what we have lived through,” Moreno, who will continue to seek legislation, said in a prepared statement.  

Sean Kane, president of Safety Research & Strategies, who has been advocating for expiration dates on tires and consumer disclosure on tire age, says that the verdict sends a strong message to the industry.

“Tire dealers and tire manufacturers must implement policies that ensure proper training to prevent aged and recalled tires from being installed on vehicles,” he said. “The failure to do so jeopardizes public safety.”


JetBlue Plane’s Tires Catch Fire On Landing In Sacramento


Posted on 27th August 2010 by gjohnson in Uncategorized

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A JetBlue plane’s tires caught on fire Thursday during a tough landing in Sacramento, leaving 15 people with minor injuries, according to the Associated Press.


The scary incident sent some passengers fleeing from the plane through the aircraft’s emergency slides.

The JetBlue flight was traveling from Long Beach, Calif., to Sacramento, and apparently had trouble with its brakes when it landed. The plane hit the runway with a big thud, one passenger told AP, and then the crew yelled for everyone to leave in a hurry via the inflatable slides.

The plane’s 87 passengers were driven to the terminal in buses, and five people were taken to the hospital.






Prompted By The Travis Barker Plane Crash, Federal Officials Order Frequent Learjet Tire Checks


Posted on 9th June 2010 by gjohnson in Uncategorized

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Underinflated tires not only cause car accidents, they can cause planes to crash. 

That’s why federal regulators have established stricter rules regarding the tire pressure on Learjets. It’s an attempt  to prevent a fatal plane crash like the one involving Blink 182 drummer Travis Barker and the disc jockety DJ AM in 2008.


The Federal Aviation Administration put out a directive Tuesday that orders U.S. operators of more than 200 model 60 Learjet business aircraft to do landing-gear inspections more often.

Underinflated tires have proven to be dangerous, and were cited as one of the causes of a crash of a charter Learjet carrying Travis and DJ AM in Columbia, S.C., as it tried to take off in September 2008. Travis and DJ AM were hurt, and four people died in the accident.

An investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board determined that the tires on the jet’s main landing gear were underinflated, and that the tires fell apart during the takeoff. Their pressure hadn’t been checked in three weeks.   


Shards from the tires struck the Learjet’s brakes and hydraulic lines, disrupting other systems in the jet. That resulted in the pilot being unable to stop the plane, and it sped off the runway and crashed.

Under the new FAA rules, the tires on Learjet 60 model will have to be checked every four days.

The federal agency was aware that underinflated tires posed a safety hazard. A year ago the FAA put out a safety  alert that told pilots to pay attention to tire pressure.  




Tire Shards May Have Damaged Continental Plane’s Hydraulic System, Forcing Plane To Turn Around


Posted on 12th May 2010 by gjohnson in Uncategorized

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Officials in New Jersey are probing whether shards from a damaged tire lead to a Continental Airlines flight being forced to make an emergency landing at Newark Liberty International Airport Sunday, according to The Star-Ledger. 


Authorities suspect that pieces of the plane’s tire may have damaged the hydraulic system of Continental Flight 9, which had taken off for Tokyo but had to return to Newark because the crew couldn’t retract its landing gear.

Port Authority of New York and New Jersey police had a photo of the tire following the emergency landing, and most of its tread had been sheared off, according to The Ledger.

The Federal Aviation Administration planned to study flight and maintenance data from Continental to confirm if the tire shards did cut the hydraulic line.

The Boeing 777, which had 291 passengers and crew, landed back at Newark airport less than an hour after its takeoff, setting back down at 12:15 p.m.   



Toyota Recalls Siennas Over Spare Tire Holders


Posted on 19th April 2010 by gjohnson in Uncategorized

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 Toyota is recalling more than 600,000 Sienna minivans over worries about the vehicles’ rusting spare tire holders. http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2010/04/17/us/politics/AP-US-Toyota-Recall.html?_r=1&scp=1&sq=Toyota%20and%20Sienna&st=cse

 Toyota is worried that after the bad winter in the U.S., road salt could cause rust on the carrier cable that holds the Seinna’s spare tire, causing the tire to pop off and fall onto the road. That could pose a danger to other drivers, although the automaker says so far no accidents have been reported due to this problem.

 The automaker has already recalled more than 8,000 cars due to their defective accelerator pedal problems.

 In the case of the Sienna, the Toyota recall affects the 1998 to 2010 model Siennas that have two-wheel drive and have been sold in 20 states with cold weather, according to The New York Times.

 Toyota is trying to find a way to solve the tire problem.