A group of Ford and Firestone owners who organized themselves on the Internet are accusing the two companies of "replacing bad tires with bad tires." Bob Rolls, a Silver Spring, Maryland, disabled U.S. Navy veteran, who started the Tire Action Group (TAG) on Safetyforum.com, said today that he and the people who have joined TAG "plan to leave no stone unturned and won't give up the battle with Ford and Firestone until they stop playing games with peoples' lives and conduct a full and immediate recall of all ATX, ATX II and Wilderness tires."

"The new tires that Ford and Firestone are using to replace recalled tires are identical to the old tires. It amazes me that the government is letting them get away with this shell game," Rolls said. "Ford and Firestone still have not provided the public with all the available information about failures from plants other than Decatur nor have they provided information about the 16" tires. Available information indicates that these tires are likewise failing." He supported his accusations by pointing out that "about one-third of lawsuits and about one-third of the complaints that NHTSA has received involve failures, deaths and injuries involving tires that were excluded from Firestone's recall."

"The replacement tires already have a record of failure. It is clear that the problem with these Firestone Wilderness tires has nothing to do with where they were made. Tires made in Decatur may have a higher reported failure rate but that doesn't excuse the significant number of failures of tires made elsewhere," Rolls said. "Before the public is asked to accept these tires as 'safe', Ford and Firestone should be required to make full disclosure of all available information regarding the performance of these replacement tires," he added.

Little Rock, Arkansas attorney, Tab Turner, Safetyforum.com's Attorney of Record on tires reported that about one-third of the lawsuits he has been able to identify involve tires made at Firestone facilities other than Decatur or are a size other than those recalled. CBS news credited a NHTSA source for its report that more than a third of the complaints that have come into the agency involve Firestone Wilderness tires that were not included in the recall.

Furthermore, Rolls pointed to the Firestone tire failure reports he's received on TAG's Safetyforum.com website. "In the eight days since TAG's website went live, we have received over fifty complaints of failures involving 15" Wilderness tires that were not made in Decatur or 16" tires that were not part of the recall," he reported.