Office of Maryland Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr.

August 16, 2000 Media Inquiries: Sean Caine 410-576-6357

Three-Tiered Recall Places Maryland in Final Stage

Los Angeles, CA - Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr., announced today from the Democratic National Convention that Bridgestone/Firestone Inc.'s plan to stagger distribution of replacements for recalled tires is unacceptable. In a letter sent to the tire manufacturer, Curran demanded immediate assistance for Marylanders who must wait until next summer to receive replacement tires under the company's current plan. "There are unsafe tires on the road in Maryland and it is unacceptable for Marylanders to wait a year before they receive replacement tires," Attorney General Curran said.

Additionally, Curran announced that Ford Motor Company has assured the Attorney General that it will help Maryland consumers obtain tires immediately. Specifically, Ford will direct its dealers to replace tires as quickly as possible in all 50 states, including Maryland. Ford has also provided a number for Maryland consumers to contact if they have any difficulties obtaining replacement tires. That number is: 800-660-4719.

Bridgestone/Firestone announced on August 9 that the recall will be conducted in three phases, beginning in Arizona, California, Florida and Texas. The company next plans to replace tires in Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Nevada and Tennessee. That phase is not expected to be completed until the beginning of next summer.

"Where does that leave Marylanders," asked Attorney General Curran. "I understand those states have reported the most incidents, but if one Marylander is riding around on unsafe tires it's one too many."

Sixty-two deaths are among more than 300 complaints of tire damage under investigation by the National Highway Safety Agency. So far, there are seven complaints from Maryland, one of which involved one injury.