Tire blowouts pose a serious threat to all who travel American roadways, but drivers of large trucks are particularly vulnerable. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) tire blowouts cause more than 12,000 truck accidents annually. The tires of a large truck can be subjected to as much as 75,000 pounds of pressure. These same over-worked tires must then travel thousands of miles, further contributing to their decline. As a result, tires weakened by pressure and distance are more likely to explode in response to a puncture or tear.
Some tire blowouts are attributable to improper maintenance. The law requires drivers of large trucks to check their tire pressure before every trip. An underinflated tire allows for too much flexion within the tire itself. Internal components like steel – when flexed beyond their limit – can overheat and result in a spontaneous explosion. Conversely, an overinflated tire has too much air pressure and can explode.
Although large truck tires are designed to withstand heavier loads than passenger vehicles, each driver must nonetheless adhere to the gross vehicular weight rating for his or her large truck. Failure to do so can rise to the level of truck driver negligence in court. Potholes represent another potential pitfall for large trucks, particularly for trucks that are already overloaded or those with worn tires. Because of their size it is not always possible for a large truck to navigate around a pothole. Instead, truck drivers must slow down to avoid striking the pothole with such speed and force that it causes a tire blowout.
Some Tire Blowouts Occur Despite Vigilance by Large Truck Drivers
Not every factor which contributes to a tire blowout will be within a driver’s control, however. During the summer months tire blowouts are at an all-time high because of increases in air temperature and an increased surface temperature of the road. To that end, the period between mid-May and late-October is when a tire blowout is most likely to occur, according to Popular Mechanics.
Manufacturing defects are also a leading cause of tire blowouts. Tread separation – which occurs when the tread and steel belting are not correctly bonded due to errors in the chemical portion of the tire manufacturing process – has resulted in two of the largest tire recalls in history, in 1978 and 2000.
Although a truck driver cannot be held responsible for the weather or a manufacturing defect, both problems still present with warning signs that should be heeded. Tires that vibrate excessively or show signs of sidewall cracks could be suffering from tread separation and must be examined further. Additionally, on days which are exceedingly hot, drivers should exercise extra caution.
New Jersey Truck Accident Lawyers at Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow & McElroy, LLP Represent Truck Accident VictimsTire blowouts during the summer months are a valid concern for large trucks and nearby passenger vehicles. If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident caused by a tire blowout, contact the New Jersey truck accident lawyers at Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow & McElroy, LLP by calling 732-777-0100 or complete our online questionnaire. At our offices in Red Bank, Edison, and Toms River, New Jersey, we proudly serve clients throughout the state.