"From the day a tire is manufactured, it begins to age. And while it’s true that the design of the tire can make a difference in how fast or how slow the process is, the fact remains that as tires age, they experience thermo-oxidative degradation." — Leslie M. Kroeger, Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC
Do you know old your tires are? Did you know a quick check of the sidewall of your tire will tell you exactly how old they are and whether you are riding safely or inviting disaster? Tires age regardless of whether they have wear and tear, so a vehicle equipped with brand new tires can still be defective, depending on their age.
All tires are required to list a Tire Identification Number (TIN) that looks similar to this “DOT MA L9 ABC 0307.” These last 4 digits are critical and represent the week and year the tire was manufactured. For example, a tire imprinted with “0307” in the last four spots of the TIN was manufactured the third week of 2007.
A tire can fail at any time but those that are 6 years or older pose a much greater threat to vehicle and occupant safety. Hot states like Florida experienced the tragic impact of defective aged tires during the Ford/Firestone fatalities several years ago.
Recently, The U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) launched a comprehensive TireWise campaign dedicated to informing consumers on the importance of tire maintenance and safety. ABC news also featured the issues surrounding tire safety in an investigative report in conjunction with the campaign launch.
NHTSA estimates that each year there are almost 200 fatalities as a result of tire-related crashes, and approximately 11,000 tire-related crashes total. This new resource offers a wealth of information to ensure motorists can easily check tire age, pressure, tread along with resources for when to replace a tire.
The products liability attorneys at Cohen Milstein have extensive experience litigating tire defect cases nationwide and have lectured and published on this issue. We urge you to check the TIN on your tire today. See more information on tire aging here.