A Texas judge on Thursday gave preliminary approval to a national class-action settlement involving Bridgestone Corp.'s Firestone unit and its August 2000 recall of 6.5 million tyres, Reuters reported.

As part of the settlement, Firestone would spend $US15.5 million on a three-year consumer education program focusing on tyre safety and incorporate technology that would improve the high-speed capability of some tyres, the report added.

Judge Donald Floyd in Texas' 172nd District Court in Beaumont, Texas, directed lawyers for both sides to come up with a plan to notify those eligible for the settlement. The proposal is subject to a final fairness hearing, Reuters added.

Reuters said the settlement applies only to those who were not personally injured or have property damage as a result of an accident involving the recalled tyres. Hundreds of personal injury lawsuits are still pending over rollover accidents involving tread separation, the report added.

According to Reuters, Firestone, based in Nashville, Tennessee, said it will incorporate the new manufacturing technology involving cap strips, nylon strips or comparable elements in some tyres for seven years. It also will pay $19 million in legal fees and $2,500 each to 45 named plaintiffs in the case, a Firestone spokesman told the news agency.

Reuters said Firestone had fought an earlier attempt in Indianapolis federal court to have such claims certified as a national class action, saying it decided to settle a case in Texas and expand it nationwide in order to avoid the burden and expense of protracted legal action.