Practically every driver has seen the debris a blown tractor-trailer tire leaves on the highway. But as attorneys specializing in truck accidents, we’re keenly aware of the devastating accidents that can happen when a major blowout occurs, especially if it happens in heavy traffic.
Why do these blowouts occur? It seems every time I’m driving on the highway, especially the interstate, I see a big piece of tread across the road.
One factor is defective tires – like other parts such as brakes, manufacturers do sometimes sell tires that have some sort of flaw. Often times, a recall will be issued by the U.S. Department of Transportation and the manufacturer to address any problems that come up after a certain tire has been sold.
Just because an accident was caused by a defective tire doesn’t mean the manufacturer is totally at-fault for the wreck. If a recall had been issued, the driver and the trucking company bear much of the responsibility.
The other main cause of tire failure is maintenance, or a lack thereof to be more specific.
And it’s not just basic tire maintenance (i.e. wear and air pressure) either – not properly maintaining the truck’s brakes can lead to them overheating, which can eventually lead to tire failure if it isn’t address.
Not using the proper tires is another cause of tire failure and thus, many devastating truck accidents. Drivers sometimes use tires that don’t meet minimum tread depth requirements. If a mismatch of different sized tires is used, the tire not designed to handle the load could give way. Also, drivers and trucking companies may mix “bias” and “radial” tires on the same axle, which can lead to devastating consequences.
Much of the responsibility to prevent tire failure, and thus tractor-trailer accidents, ultimately falls on the driver. Before each trip, the driver has to inspect his rig to ensure the safety of his load and the other drivers on the road.
One of these tasks is checking the tire pressure and wear.
Improper tire pressure, regardless of whether the tire has too little or too much air pressure, can cause the tire to deteriorate faster and eventually fail.
Other indicators of a tire’s health include – tread wear, tread and sidewall damage and air leakage.
Blowouts on rigs of this size often result in a loss of control, which can quickly become very dangerous for surrounding drivers, especially if the wrong tire blows.
If you or a loved one was in an accident of this nature, it’s important to understand who’s actually liable for the accident.
Did the trucking company and driver properly do everything required to make sure the tires were safe, and thus, it’s a manufacturing defect?
Was the trucking company using the wrong type of tires for the sized rig?
Or was the driver simply negligent in spotting an air leak?
Whatever the reason, it’s absolutely important you discuss your case with an attorney specializing in truck accidents today.
Remember, accidents often times happen because of a combination of several factors. Sometimes, a combination of the above reasons contributes to a tire blowout and unfortunately, a devastating accident.