CBS Evening News for Thursday, May 18, 1978
View other clips in this broadcast →
(Studio) Dvt. of radial tires in Europe and growth of their use as passenger tires in United States noted. Report is on findings by some radial tire users that they can bring tragedy.
REPORTER: Walter Cronkite
(NYC) Car accident noted that rendered Nevada high school student Floretta Neal paralyzed and killed both her parents; photos shown. [Ms. NEAL - describes accident.] Sworn testimony of experts that reason for accident was failure of defective Firestone 500 steel-belted radial tire reported; other tire-related accidents noted. Clarence Ditlow's heading of Ralph Nader-founded consumer organization Center for Auto Safety mentioned. [DITLOW - states figs. they have from reports of accidents caused by Firestone radials.] National Highway Traffic Safety Cmsn.'s study of service received by Firestone Radial owners, after numerous complaints sent to Commission office, detailed. Firestone's attempt to have study permanently suppressed and grounds for this reported [Commission administration Joan CLAYBROOK - lists signs Firestone radial owner can look for as danger signals in his tire.] Firestone refusal to be interviewed and company statements on issue stated; its claim to have halted steel-belted 500 product cited. Representative John Moss's upcoming congress hearings into matter noted. [MOSS - states that Firestone was making at least one size of these tires until 4 weeks ago on grounds that General Motors Corporation needed tire to complete styling lines on its Camaro model.] Troubles from radial tires manufactured by other large tire companies stated. General ind. response to controversy over radial tires that owners observe improper care techniques cited. New Jersey tire serviceman's findings of number of defective tires in last 18 mos. reported [Serviceman William RANDALL - says company blames of improper care of car and tires by owners isn't so; that it's defective tires. Is talking of all American-made radial tires.] Little criticism of foreign-made radials reported [Rubber Mfrs. Association president Malcolm LOVELL - says tires are probably safer now than ever in history of industry] Firestone's out-of-court settlement with Neal family, prior to beginning of wrongful death and injury trial, described. Neal film prepared for trial shown.
REPORTER: Richard Wagner