Tires imported from China have been deemed defective, joining pet food, toothpaste, and toys coated with lead paint as items produced in China that are deemed unsafe. Federal officials have told a New Jersey importer to recall 450,000 radial tires for pickup trucks, SUVs and vans.
The recall came about when the importer, Foreign Tire Sales, disclosed that its Chinese manufacturer had stopped including a safety feature that prevented the tires from separating. Tread separation is the same defect that led to the recall of millions of Firestone tires in 2000.
This time the defect came to light after Foreign Tire Sales was sued over a fatal accident last summer which allegedly involves the defective tires. The accident killed two passengers and seriously injured a third. Foreign Tire Sales says it doesn't have the money for a recall.
But the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says it won't help with the costs of a recall. Top officials at the agency have expressed anger that the importer waited more than two years to pass on its suspicions about the tires.