If you’ve ever seen strips of tire tread scattered along the highway when you’re driving, you’ve probably seen evidence of a truck tire blowout. While a blown-out tire on your car might be only a minor nuisance, truck tire blowouts led to 738 traffic fatalities across the country in 2017 alone.
A loaded commercial semi-truck weighs up to 80,000 pounds and usually travels at high speeds. If a tire blowout causes a collision between the truck and a smaller vehicle, major property damage and catastrophic injuries can result.
Causes of Truck Tire Blowouts
If you’ve been injured as a result of a truck tire blow-out wreck, you might have claims against one or more at-fault parties for your medical bills, lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering. Some common causes of truck-tire blowouts are:
- Driver negligence. The driver might be driving on worn-out tires or might have failed to inflate a tire properly, causing tread separation to occur, especially during the summer months when roads are hot.
- Defective tires. Even if a tire is new, it could have defects that lead to tread separation and tire shredding. Tire manufacturers have a duty to produce safe and reliable tires.
- Cargo overload. The amount of weight a truck may carry on the interstate is limited, but cargo loading personnel might not always follow the rules. Overloads increase the chance of a blowout.
- The wrong tires. The driver or whoever maintains trucks for a trucking company might have installed incorrect or mismatched tires, which increases the chance of a blowout.
- Bad brakes and bad braking practices. Brake pads could be worn and cause the driver to brake harder, which wears down tire tread. Harder braking is also necessary if a driver fails to downshift on steep grades.
- Potholes and bad weather. Either one can damage tires, so drivers should check tires regularly after traveling over bad roads or in inclement weather.
Types of Accidents Caused by Truck Tire Blowouts
Whatever the cause, truck tire blowouts can lead to the following types of accidents:
- Falling cargo
- Rear-end collisions
- Head-on collisions
Injuries Suffered in Truck Tire Blowout Crashes
A collision between an 18-wheeler and a smaller vehicle can result in very severe injuries:
- Concussions and brain injuries
- Broken or crushed bones
- Lacerations and scarring
- Spinal cord injuries
Truckers and Trucking Companies Have a Duty of Care
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has established rules governing truckers and trucking companies’ duties to maintain their trucks:
- Truckers and trucking companies must inspect and maintain their vehicles, including the tires, according to a specific schedule published by the FMCSA.
- A truck may not be driven in a condition likely to result in a breakdown or an accident.
- Before every trip, a trucker must review the last truck driver’s report and verify that any necessary repairs have been made. If the tires are defective or overly worn, the truck should not be driven.
- Each trucker must conduct a post-trip inspection and list any repairs needed.
- On a multi-day run, a trucker must inspect the truck, including tires, at the end of each day. If the tires are not in good condition, the trucker should not continue to drive the truck until the tires are repaired or replaced.
- Trucking companies are also required to keep trucks, including tires, in top condition for the road.
Failure to abide by these rules is negligence, which renders the trucker and/or the company liable for damages in an accident caused by poorly maintained tires.
Have You Been Injured in a Truck Tire Blowout Accident in the Twin Cities?
If you’ve been seriously hurt in a truck accident, our free referral service will find you the right local doctor to treat your specific injuries and an experienced local truck accident lawyer to protect your legal rights. Contact us online or call 763-251-PAIN for a free consultation about your accident. Just one call puts you two steps closer to justice!