Washington Eighteen more deaths have been reported to federal regulators investigating the Firestone recall, bringing the U.S. death toll to 119 from accidents involving the tires, authorities said Tuesday.
More than 3,500 people have complained to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration about tread separations, blowouts and other problems with certain Firestone tires. The complaints include reports of more than 500 injuries, according to a notice on NHTSA's website.
That's up from more than 2,200 complaints, 400 injuries and 101 deaths reported as of mid-September. The notice said it's possible some of the 3,500 complaints are duplicates.
In addition to the U.S. deaths, at least seven people have died in the Middle East in rollover accidents involving the tires, and Venezuelan authorities count at least 46 deaths.
A NHTSA official said none of the 18 new deaths reported occurred since Bridgestone/ Firestone Inc.'s Aug. 9 recall of 6.5 million ATX, ATX II and Wilderness AT tires, most of which were standard equipment on the Ford Explorer.
Some of the complaints involve Firestone tires not under recall. NHTSA could order an expanded recall if it determines the company's action does not cover all the dangerous tires.
Bridgestone/Firestone spokeswoman Anitra Budd said the company would work with NHTSA to analyze the newly released information.
"Our deepest sympathies go out to the friends and families of those who died in these accidents reported to NHTSA," Budd said. "We are working around the clock in our effort to complete the recall in November and to find the root cause of the tire problem."