Tire problems may increase trucking accidents.
The United States Department of Transportation Traffic Safety Administration announced in October 2018 that highway fatality numbers are down, but still estimates over 500,000 truck accidents every year. Every 16 minutes a person is injured or killed from a truck accident. If a car is hit by a commercial wheel or tire, it may be the responsibility of the trucking company or the driver. Truckers’ emergency road call statistics revealed tire problems approximately 51.3% of the time.
A truck near Minneapolis Minnesota was cited for a weight restriction violation when his truck contents showed up at 85,900 pounds over the safe weight for his vehicle after his tires blew out and the repair truck could not lift his vehicle because it was too heavy. Commercial trucks have very large wheels and tires that are considered one of the most dangerous parts of the motor vehicle. Loose tires can lead to accidents resulting in death and injury after the additional weight load causes them to blow out, roll off at high speeds, become loose or break apart, shedding large pieces of rubber debris on roadways.
Loose Tire Injuries.
It is more common for a truck to lose a tire or for the tread to break apart, but the additional threat of an entire wheel coming off of a tractor-trailer is possible. Sometimes, tires simply roll off of a wheel. More often they break apart and tire debris can become a deadly projectile thrown through the air landing on vehicles, or causing dangerous conditions once it lands on the highway itself. Flying tire parts can smash windshields, and debris on roadways can cause dangerous conditions where drivers may be forced to swerve and lose control of their vehicles. Drivers sharing roadways with commercial trucks and tractor trailers are often hit by wheels that roll and bounce down the highway into their car, or tire debris may cause another vehicle to lose control causing multi-vehicle accidents in its wake.
Conditions that may cause a truck tire to break or come loose include:
- Under-inflation – When there is not enough air in a tire, the tire can become too hot. This causes the blowout.
- Tread burn – This means that the tread on a tire is burnt or used up. When this happens, friction with the road can cause a tire to overheat and break apart.
- Tread separation – Even a tire that appears to be in good condition can blow out due to tread separation. This occurs when the metal and rubber inside a tire become disconnected from each other, causing the tire to break apart and scatter over the roadway.
- Spare tire – Since trucks go through tires so often, it is possible that a truck will be riding on a spare tire. If a spare tire is too old, it could be rotten, leading the tire to break apart and causing you to suffer an injury.
- Problems with the wheel or rim can also lead a tire to come loose or blow out.
- Exceeding weight restrictions that damage both tires and wheels.
Liability for wheel separation accidents.
- Truck driver – If he or she failed to inspect or maintain the tires on the truck
- Truck owner – If the owner is responsible for improper wheel-end maintenance or negligently fails to replace worn tires
- Tire manufacturer – In some cases, it may be possible to hold a manufacturer liable for a product defect.
A trial lawyer at the Law Offices of Florin Roebig specializing in personal injury can assist with the burden of collecting and analyzing the data related to an accident caused by a loose tire or wheel. Accidents may be caused by one driver, several drivers, road conditions, weather, natural or other causes and legal counsel can assist with the determination of a negligence claim for damages.
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