Since 2006, at least four people have been fatally injured and 22 have been injured following blowouts of Dunlop D402 motorcycle tires on Harley Davidson motorcycles. Goodyear, who manufactures these tires, insists that its tires are safe despite the series of fatal motorcycle accidents following blowouts. Nearly all the known cases of D402 blowouts have resulted in lawsuits against Goodyear. To date, Goodyear has prevailed in two of these cases, and settled eight more. Three are still pending in the courts. Federal safety regulators have not yet issued a recall for the tires.
The D402 tires were all manufactured in Goodyear plants. These plants are known for having intense production demands. Reports of leaks in the roof have put the safety of both workers and consumers at risk. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued more than $20,000 in penalties for seven safety violations between 2003 and 2015 where these tires were made.
In the pending lawsuits, some of the motorists who have sued Goodyear have retained expert witnesses. According to one expert witness, who has been retained in 12 lawsuits against Goodyear over the Dunlop tires, Goodyear was negligent in allowing defective tires to go into the marketplace. He has characterized the defect as a systemic problem and claims that the manufacturing defect causes tires to leak air and lose pressure, or that they come off their rims. According to the Michigan-based tire expert, when this happens on a Harley-Davidson, it causes the cyclists to lose control of their motorcycles.
Goodyear denies these allegations, countering that most issues with motorcycle tires are a result of under inflation, overloading, or damage from road hazards. A spokesperson for the tire giant has stated that the company reports all known claims of fatality and injury to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). NHTSA does not have specific rules or guidelines as to how many complaints they must receive before they ask a manufacturer to issue a recall.
However, a former NHTSA administrator has stated that five fatalities and 22 injuries from the same tire on motorcycles made for a specific bike is significant enough to warrant an investigation.
Some have raised concerns about the NHTSA’s ability to perform its job as quickly and thorough as it should in issuing these recalls. With only 600 employees, it may not have enough resources. Because of underfunding and understaffing, some have noted that the NHTSA may be overcautious to open an investigation.
If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident or have lost a loved one, the experienced New Jersey motorcycle accident lawyers at Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, LLP have the experience and persistence to represent you successfully. We can help you hold the responsible party accountable for their negligence. With offices located in Edison, Red Bank, and Toms River, New Jersey, we represent clients throughout the state. To schedule a free and confidential consultation, call us today at 732-777-0100 or contact us online.