When large semitrucks whiz by, the brief slipstream of air that accompanies their passage can create a moment of tension for any driver. But imagine an even scarier situation: as the truck passes you, its tires detach and come hurling towards your car. Unfortunately, this happens all too frequently, as illustrated by a recent accident. While driving on Route 22 in Tennessee, tires separated from a westbound big rig, hitting a car driven by a 45-year-old woman. The woman was taken away from the scene by ambulance and experienced moderate injuries.
Semitruck tire blowouts and tire mishaps are a common occurrence on open highways. The proof can be seen in the form of tattered black strips of tire treads that are left on the roadways. If a blown tire or a tire flying off a big rig has injured you, it’s possible that negligent actions by various parties may have been the cause:
1) The tire manufacturer: One possible cause for a blowout is that the manufacturer sold a defective tire. After an accident, it may be possible to confirm whether or not this was the case by consulting with the recall records of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT).
2) The trucking company: Sometimes the trucking company fails to maintain the safe condition of the truck’s tires. There are several ways this can occur: 1) by allowing the driver to use tires that do not meet DOT tread standards 2) mounting mismatched tires 3) mixing bias and radial tires on the same axle or 4) overtightening the studs or bolts or allowing them to become loose or break.
3) The driver: It is also possible the tire was in an unsafe condition before the driver got on the road because the driver failed to do the required pretrip inspection. This would alert the driver to problems such as loose parts or low or high tire pressure, which, if left unchecked, can lead to deterioration of the tire.
Trucking companies and their drivers have a duty to other drivers to maintain tire safety.