IN THE LATE 1990s, a series of fatal repetitive accidents occurred among drivers of Ford vehicles using certain Firestone tires (manufactured by Bridgestone/Firestone, Inc., the result of a 1990 merger) that experienced tread separation. This led to major recalls of tires by Firestone, free tire replacements by Ford Motor Company, an extensive investigation by the Department of Transportation (DOT), hearings before the U.S. Congress, and hundreds of lawsuits.

As reports of accidents involving the Firestone ATX, ATX II, and Wilderness tires began to mount in mid-2000, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (HTSA), a division of DOT, opened its investigation. Under the provisions established by the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1966, in August, Firestone was forced to recall all of its ATX ...

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