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Unsafe tires a deadly risk on U.S. roads

Tens of thousands of cars on the road could have dangerous tires
NTSB: Older or defective tires lead to crashes 02:51

Thousands of cars on U.S. roads could have bad tires.

NTSB investigators will meet Tuesday to discuss the problem of old or defective tires, and recalls that have failed to get defective tires off the roads.

Krystal Cantu, 25, was a passenger in a truck last year when the vehicle's left back tire blew out and she skidded off a Texas highway.

"As soon as we hit a patch of grass, we started rolling. My arm just kind of flung out of the window, so once it was time for my side to roll and my arm got smashed in the process," she told CBS News.

Every year there are about 11,000 tire-related accidents, injuring about 6,000 people and leaving just under 200 dead.

The NTSB's simulator illustrates just how fast a blowout can cause a loss of control. It's when a rear tire goes that the trouble really begins.

Tires weaken over time and cracks start to appear on the surface. Some auto manufacturers recommend that tires be replaced every six years regardless of use. While tire manufacturers recommend 10 years as the maximum service life for a tire because of aging.

But Sean Kane, a tire safety expert, says a lack of information on the tire itself makes it difficult for consumers to determine the age of a tire and whether it is the subject of a recall.

"I do see a lot of flaws in the system. I'm particularly troubled by the lack of a system for recalls that works. And again in 2014 when you have recall remediation rates in the 20 percent for something as important as tires, you know you've got a problem," Kane told CBS News' Jeff Pegues.

Dan Zielinski is with the Rubber Manufacturers Association, which represents tire companies.

"Manufacturers want recalled tires back. One of the critical impediments to doing that is locating individuals that have them," Zielinski said. "And that's a function of the registration system which we've identified, and we want to take steps and see steps taken to fix that."

You can find out if your car is the subject of a recall by going to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website and punching-in the vehicle identification number or VIN number. But there is no government system like that in place for tires. And some safety advocates believe that's why there are so many recalled tires on the roads.

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