Commercial truck tires have a lot riding on them; people’s livelihoods and even lives depend on their proper functioning. As The Los Angeles Times reported, the commercial trucks zooming down the interstate could even be carrying nuclear bombs. But nuclear bombs or not, ensuring commercial tires are up to their tasks is a must for the safety of truck drivers and the public.
Tire problems cause about 8,000 accidents per year for commercial trucks alone, according to the FMCSA. These accidents account for about 6 percent of all commercial truck accidents.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) Office of Defects Investigations recognizes a number of factors that can compromise tire safety and increase the risk of a deadly accident. As a result, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has issued a list of recommendations for commercial truck drivers to help promote tire safety.
According to the FMCSA, commercial tires should be examined every day for irregular treadwear, cracking, bulges, inadequate tread depth, cuts and other damage. Tire rims should only be those of an approved width and diameter, as mismatched tire and rim components may explode. Overloading or underinflating tires causes excessive heat build-up and internal structure damage, and exceeding tires’ speed ratings can also cause damage and lead to tire failure.
Hundreds of deaths and thousands of injuries from tire failure should motivate preventative action but, sadly, manufacturers and employers often refuse to take the necessary tire safety precautions until their carelessness is revealed in a courtroom.
* * *
Ben Baker, a lawyer in our Personal Injury / Products Liability section, is experienced in handling claims involving tire failure. For more information, contact him at Ben.Baker@beasleyallen.com or call 800-898-2034. Ben recently wrote a book, Tire Litigation: A Primer, which is available free to lawyers. To order your copy or download a digital copy, visit our Publishing page.
Tire Litigation: A Primer