Tire Blowouts & Big Rig Trucks: Why they Occur
A flat tire on an automobile is a scary and sometimes a dangerous incident if it occurs while driving a car. A big rig tire blowout, however, due to the size and speed of these commercial trucks, can be a life-threatening event, often resulting in an accident with serious injuries or fatalities.
What causes big rig blow outs? A study conducted this year by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (“NHTSA”) investigated multiple Michelin tire blowouts on big rigs. The study concluded that high speeds and lack of maintenance were the primary causative factors. Most tires on trucks are not meant to handle constant speeds over 75 mph, yet 16 states have truck speeds equal to or greater than 75 mph, and 4 states have speed limits of 80 mph. Although California has a low speed limit of 55 mph for commercial trucks, big rigs that travel to and from other states with higher speed limits may experience tire damage, greatly increasing the risk of a blowout on California roads.
Another cause of big rig tire blowouts is lack of tire maintenance. Wear on tires, not maintaining proper air pressure, failing to monitor tread wear, tread and sidewall damage, and not checking for air leakages can all lead to tire failure on the road.
Sometimes tires, like other vehicle parts, can be defective. In some cases, defective tires are recalled, and it is the responsibility of the truck driver and the trucking company to ensure that the defective tires are replaced with proper ones. In cases where no recall has been issued, the defective tires and any accidents they cause are the responsibility of the tire manufacturer.
Another factor in big rig blowouts is placing the wrong tires on the truck. If tires do not meet the minimum tread depth requirement for the rig, or if a rig is using mismatched tires, then a blowout is more likely to occur.
Big Rig Tire Blowouts Cause Serious Accidents in California
Why is avoiding a big rig tire blowout so important? Because having one can be so catastrophic. When a tire blows out on a huge commercial tractor-trailer, it is very likely that the truck driver will lose control of the rig. This immediately creates a dangerous situation not only for the truck driver, but for all the surrounding drivers on the road. Because of the size and speed of big rigs, an accident can and often does result in serious injuries and fatalities.
Who is Liable for a Big Rig Tire Blowout?
Liability for an accident can depend on many factors, but causation is key. For instance, was the blowout caused by lack of proper tire maintenance? If so, negligence on the part of the truck driver is usually responsible. Did the tire blowout due to an air leakage? Checking the rig and its tires is the responsibility of the truck driver, so driver negligence may be the cause of a tire blowout.
Was excessive speed to blame for the blowout, which the NHTSA report indicates results in too many accidents caused by big rig blowouts? If so, then the truck driver can be held responsible, possibly in civil and criminal court. Did a defect in the tire cause a blowout, resulting in an accident? A manufacturing or design defect places liability on the tire manufacturer.
Contact Sacramento Truck Accident Lawyer Ed Smith
If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident due to a big rig tire blowout, you need the representation of an experienced Sacramento Truck accident attorney to ensure compensation for medical expenses, lost wages and income, future earning potential, pain and suffering, and other financial losses.