According to a new national survey from The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. and America’s Byways, 70% of Americans are planning on taking at least one road trip this autumn, and a combination of stable gas prices and abundant scenic routes should contribute to opportunities for weekend road trips or getaways.
The survey, completed by Kelton Research, also finds that most travelers want their journey to be something that is beautiful and unique, not just another trip on a superhighway. In fact, the overwhelming majority of people (80%) would opt for a scenic, touring drive rather than driving directly to their destination. Unlike summer road trips, which focus on the destinations, fall getaway trips are built upon the overall experience of the journey.
“Our survey showed that 97% of Americans planning a fall road trip agree that their overall comfort is the key to enjoying it, so we joined together with America’s Byways to unveil a list of the ’50 Most Comfortable Touring Drives,’” said Gary Medalis, general manager for Goodyear consumer tires. “These top 50 touring drives encompass comfort and scenery to enhance the trip and are all within reasonable distance of major metropolitan areas.”
“This fall, for not a lot of money, travelers can skip the superhighways and exit to the smaller roadways to experience some of the best roads America has to offer,” said Derrick Crandall, spokesperson for America’s Byways and president of the American Recreation Coalition. “While there are hundreds of fantastic drives along America’s Byways, we worked with Goodyear to create a list of some of the best, providing Americans with what they told us they are looking for – comfortable, nearby drives that provide scenic and unique landscapes.
The list follows”
- Delaware River Scenic Byway – New Jersey.
- Merritt Parkway – Connecticut.
- Great Lakes Seaway Trail – New York, Pennsylvania.
- Arroyo Seco Historic Parkway – California.
- Ebbetts Pass Scenic Byway – California.
- San Luis Obispo North Coast Byway – California.
- Historic Route 66 – Illinois, Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma.
- Lincoln Highway – Illinois.
- Brandywine Valley Scenic Byway – Delaware.
- Historic National Road – Pennsylvania, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Ohio, West Virginia.
- Blue Ridge Parkway – North Carolina, Virginia.
- Journey Through Hallowed Ground – Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia.
- George Washington Memorial Parkway – Virginia.
- Millstone Valley Scenic Byway (New Jersey).
- Baltimore’s Historic Charles Street – Maryland.
- Woodward Avenue Automotive Heritage Trail – Michigan.
- Red Rock Scenic Byway – Arizona.
- Stevens Pass Greenway – Washington.
- Chinook Scenic Byway – Washington.
- Mountains to Sound Greenway – Washington.
- Grand Rounds Scenic Byway – Minnesota.
- Florida Keys Scenic Highway – Florida.
- Florida Black Bear Scenic Byway – Florida.
- A1A Scenic and Historic Coastal Byway – Florida.
- Ormond Scenic Loop and Trail – Florida.
- Lariat Loop Scenic & Historic Byway – Colorado.
- Gold Belt Tour Scenic & Historic Byway – Colorado.
- Ohio River Scenic Byway – Ohio, Illinois, Indiana.
- Amish Country Byway – Ohio.
- Lake Erie Coastal Ohio Trail – Ohio.
- Meeting of the Great Rivers Scenic Route – Illinois.
- Mt. Hood Scenic Byway – Oregon.
- West Cascades Scenic Byway – Oregon.
- Cherokee Foothills Scenic Byway – South Carolina.
- Natchez Trace Parkway – Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi.
- Connecticut State Route 169 – Connecticut.
- Nebo Loop Scenic Byway – Utah.
- * Loess Hills Scenic Byway – Iowa.
- Woodlands Trace – Tennessee, Kentucky.
- Selma to Montgomery March Byway – Alabama.
- Flint Hills Scenic Byway – Kansas.
- Wetlands and Wildlife Scenic Byway – Kansas.
- Talladega Scenic Drive – Alabama.
- Alabama’s Coastal Connection – Alabama.
- Las Vegas Strip – Nevada.
- Death Valley Scenic Byway – California.
- Route 1 – San Luis Obispo North Coast Byway – California.
- Santa Fe Trail – New Mexico, Colorado.
- Turquoise Trail – New Mexico.
- Lincoln Heritage Scenic Byway.
Additional results from the survey revealed 49% of Americans would sacrifice their GPS units, while others (32%) would sacrifice music and good gas mileage (29%) to experience a comfortable drive. Americans would even go to extremes to guarantee a satisfying, comfortable drive on a road trip – with 30% responding that they would endure the pain of stubbing their toe, or enduring a bee sting (18%), or even a root canal (6%).
Goodyear is one of the world’s largest tire companies. It employs approximately 69,000 people and manufactures its products in more than 57 facilities in 23 countries around the world.
America’s Byways is a collection of 150 distinct and diverse roads designated by the U.S. Secretary of Transportation. The National Scenic Byways Program is part of the U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration. The program is a grass-roots collaborative effort established to help recognize, preserve and enhance selected roads throughout the United States.
Editor’s Note: Mark C. Tanenbaum, a South Carolina attorney, sent out this news release about the recent court decision regarding Goodyear tires.
A personal injury claim filed by a Florida man against Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. resulted in one of the largest judgments ever awarded in Pasco County. Judge Stanley Mills found Goodyear liable for a 2004 crash that caused serious injuries to John Schalmo and his family.
In August of that year, Mr. Schalmo was on the road in a year 2000 motorhome marketed by the American Tradition company. While traveling on Florida State Road 8 in the town of Chipley, the tread on the front passenger tire (a Goodyear model G159, size 275/70 22.5 that had been on the vehicle since its manufacture in 2000) separated from the underlying rubber base. The sudden loss of traction caused Mr. Schalmo to lose control of the RV and eventually crash into a wooded area beside the road. Mr. Schalmo was traveling with his wife and parents-in-law at the time of the accident. All the occupants were injured — Mr. Schalmo and his father-in-law William McClintock severely. Both of Mr. McClintock’s legs had to be amputated to save his life.
How Did the Court Determine that Goodyear was Liable?
Judge Mills’ decision was based on a lengthy analysis of the history of the G159 tire. Goodyear’s marketing of its G159 tire specifically to RV users and owners when it was intended only to be used on delivery vehicles traveling at a maximum of 65 mph was a definite factor in the judge’s decision. Not only did Goodyear improperly market the tires, they actually increased the maximum speed rating to 75 mph. This was done in spite of the fact that they were well aware of a design flaw that resulted in overheating of the tire when it was used on RVs traveling at high speeds for extended periods. Overheating is a leading cause of tread detachment, which, as in the case of Mr. Schalmo, can result in a catastrophic accident.
The fact that the tire’s treads could separate due to the heat generated on the road was only part of the equation. The trial court also found that G159 tires were not designed in a way to handle the lengthy periods of inactivity of the RVs themselves — these vehicles are typically parked for months at a time, putting constant pressure on the tires. Somewhat ironically, the inactivity contributes to the tires’ failure when the vehicle is in use.
Another aspect of Goodyear’s liability in this accident is the fact that the company never issued a full recall of the G159 tires. They issued two limited recalls (and one Product Service Bulletin) in 1999, but did not publicize the fact that the tire’s design was inherently unworkable for an RV, instead blaming any tire failures on “inadequate load margin and customer misuse.”
What Does This Mean for Other Claims Against Goodyear?
While the company has confidentially settled around a dozen other personal injury claims arising from tread separation on G159 tires, this is the first case to go to trial. It is also the first case to have a publicly available award amount. This judgment will put plaintiffs in a better bargaining position both at the negotiation table and in the courtroom, and the judge’s findings will give guidance to those who will be deciding future lawsuits.
A jury award against Goodyear in an failed RV tire lawsuit sends a renewed warning to RVers, according to a story posted by RV News Service.
Do you know what kind of tires you’re RV is riding on?
On Friday, June 25, a Pasco County Circuit Court jury returned a $5.6 million verdict against tire giant, Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. for selling a defective tire that in the end, was found to have been responsible for serious injuries to three RVers. In August 2004, John Schalmo was driving his American Tradition motorhome in Florida when the right front tire suffered a catastrophic tread separation. Schalmo lost control of the rig, and the motorhome crossed over the highway, an exit ramp, and finally crashed into trees. Mr. Schalmo and two passengers were seriously injured, one of them loosing both legs.
Goodyear was found responsible, as evidence presented in court, showed the company was aware the tires they were marketing to the RV industry were not safe for use on RVs. The G159 tires had been marketed to the RV industry in the 1990s and 2000s, although they were originally designed for urban delivery trucks, and had a maximum continuous speed rating of only 65 mph. RVs often are driven at speeds exceeding this rating, and the build up of heat from such speeds is a leading cause of this type of tire failure. In 1998 Goodyear increased the speed rating of its G159 tires to 75 miles per hourmph. In the trial, evidence was presented that the plaintiff’s attorneys argued showed that Goodyear was well aware that the 75 mile per hour rating was improper for safe use.
By 1999 Goodyear had issued both recalls and a service bulletin to remove G159 tires from RV service, but the recalls did not indicate tire design as the problem, but blamed customer misuse and inadequate load margins for the need of replacement. In 2006 Goodyear stopped production of the G159 tire, but the attorneys in the case say that the company has never made a complete recall of the tire, and they suggest many thousands of the tires could still be in the field.
This is not the first time Goodyear has been in the cross hairs over G159 failure cases. As many as a dozen claims have been settled out of court, under the cloak of “confidentiality” despite the fact that serious injuries and deaths have resulted from the tire failures.
The issue of G159 tires may not be limited to motorhomes. RV News Service staff have found at least one instance where an RVer used these same tires on his Ford F-250 pickup he used to carry his truck camper. Several motorhome users have reported G159 failures, including one who said his Class A rig was equipped with 2001 manufactured G159s. In 2005 one of them blew, putting his rig in the ditch with $35,000 in damages.
A Pasco County, Fla., Circuit Court jury Friday afternoon (June 25) returned a $5.6 million verdict against the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. for selling a defective tire that had been marketed to recreational motorhome manufacturers, even though the tire was not suitable for RV use, according to a news release from the plaintiffs’ lawyer.
The tire, a Goodyear G159, was original equipment on a 2000 American Tradition motorhome that crashed on Aug. 11, 2004, seriously injuring the driver and two passengers. Driver John Schalmo was heading westbound on State Road 8 in Chipley, when the right-front tire of his motorhome suffered a catastrophic tread separation. Schalmo lost control of the RV and veered off the right side of the roadway, heading out of control across an exit ramp and into a line of trees.
Schalmo, and his wife’s parents William and Ruth McClintock, were seriously injured. William McClintock lost both legs as a result of the crash; he died of unrelated causes two years before the trial.
Attorneys Christopher Roberts and Hugh Smith, of Smith, Fuller & Roberts, a Tampa Bay firm specializing in tire litigation, presented evidence that Goodyear had marketed the G159 to the RV industry for nearly a decade in the 1990s and 2000s, even though Goodyear knew it was dangerous for those vehicles. The G159 was originally designed for urban delivery vehicles and speed-rated for only 65 mph continuous use. In 1998, Goodyear increased the speed rating to 75 mph, even though the tire design was prone to overheat on RVs that typically travel at those speeds for extended periods. The speed rating change allowed Goodyear to continue selling the tire to the RV market after speed limits increased nationwide.
Excessive heat in a tire will break down its internal components over time, and is a leading cause of tread belt detachment failures, as typified by the Schalmo crash. During the course of the trial, Roberts and Smith presented Goodyear documents including internal heat and speed testing and failure rate data that Roberts and Smith argued showed that Goodyear knew the G159 was improperly approved for 75 mph continuous highway use.
By 1999, there had been two recalls and one Product Service Bulletin to replace G159 tires on RVs, but the recalls blamed inadequate load margin and customer misuse, and did not identify the tire design itself as defective. Goodyear has consistently assured the public that the tires are safe for all uses. However, in a 2006 Fleet Owner magazine feature, a Goodyear marketing communications manager acknowledged that the G159 was a truck tire that had not been developed for RVs. That same year, Goodyear stopped selling the G159 and replaced it with a more robust tire specifically designed for motorhome use. But Goodyear has never recalled all of the G159 tires already sold, and tens of thousands or perhaps more remain in the field.
“RV tires encounter unique challenges in ordinary service, including heavy loading and extended operation at highway speeds,” said lead plaintiffs’ attorney Christopher Roberts. “In addition to Goodyear’s G159 problem other RV tires are underspecified, leading drivers to unknowingly overload them.”
The $5.6 million award represents one of the largest verdicts in Pasco County, and this was the first G159 tire case to be resolved in a public trial. Goodyear has reportedly settled as many as a dozen G159 tread separation cases involving serious injuries and deaths, in exchange for confidentiality. The Schalmo and McClintock families refused to agree to a confidential settlement, and have expressed their hope that Goodyear will recall the tire.
Circuit Court Judge Stanley Mills has given Goodyear 45 days to present arguments for sealing the confidential Goodyear materials shown to the jury. Continued confidentiality is unlikely under the Florida Sunshine in Litigation Act, which prohibits a court from sealing corporate documents that would conceal a public hazard.