Brad Pistotnik Law
Abogado El Toro

What Causes Tire Blowouts on Commercial Vehicles?

What causes tire blowouts on commercial vehicles? Who can be held liable by a trucking accident attorney when a tire blows out and causes personal injuries, wrongful deaths, or property damage? Commercial trucks experience blowouts that are caused by everything from driver error to manufacturing defects. When a commercial truck "loses" a tire, it significantly affects the stability of the vehicle and the operator's ability to control the vehicle's direction. Normally, this is from poor maintenance and failing to perform daily driver inspections. It can also be from trying to make a larger profit by driving on bad tires that should have been replaced. This can lead to serious accidents which the driver, the fleet operator, or those responsible for maintaining the tire can be held liable for causing by a trucking accident attorney.

From 2009 to 2013, tire blowouts were a factor in 198 commercial vehicle crashes. These caused 223 fatalities. The Large Truck Crash Causation Survey conducted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration determined that more than 8,000 trucks from April 2001 to December 2003 experienced tire problems that contributed to causing an accident. This made tire problems a factor in approximately 6% of large vehicle accidents during that period. This is a high level of accidents. The DOT and FMCSA track maintenance violations through the CSA BASICs enforcement and tracking system. They do this to prevent truck drivers and motor carriers and large trucking companies from killing innocent people, all over trying to save a buck.

Speed is a leading cause of tire blowouts on commercial vehicles. Most large truck tires are rated for a maximum speed of 75 MPH. In many states, this is the maximum speed for light trucks and passenger vehicles on interstate roads. In order to reduce tire blowouts caused by excessive speed, most states have set speed limits for large trucks that are below the maximum speed limit allowed for light trucks and passenger vehicles on rural interstates, urban interstates, and limited access roads. However, keeping up with the flow of traffic means that truck drivers often push the design limits of their tires. Maintenance is just as important as speed control.

Regulators at the Department of Transportation have been considering new rules since 2016 that would require the installation of speed limiters on all commercial trucks. This is to try and avoid the obvious hazard of worn tires. It is theorized that these rules would reduce the risk of blowouts caused by excessive speed, however, it does not appear these new rules will be finalized in the near future. Large trucking companies make hundreds of billions of dollars and they lobby with substantial monies to convince our nations congress that new rules should not be imposed. These rules would support other FMCSA safety regulations that govern what tires can be used, what maintenance must be performed, and when tires must be discarded.

Overloading is the second most common reason for a commercial tire blowout. The increased weight and stress from overloading causes the tires to exceed manufacturing limits. Commercial truck tires must be properly inflated for the load of the cargo the vehicle is expected to transport, the number of axles, and whether the tire is a load bearing tire or a steering tire. Trucking companies overload their trucks to increase profit and violate the FMCSR quite frequently. While the truck may itself not be overloaded, the tires very well might be and this is something that is often overlooked. Over-inflation or under-inflation of the tire can increase wear and tear on the tires and cause damage that may not become apparent until the tire blows. Drivers are supposed to always conducdt a pre-trip inspection to check the entire tractor and trailer which includes all tires. Changes in air pressure, temperature, vehicle speed, and driving conditions can require drivers to adjust pressure as they travel, but many fail to do this.

Brad Pistotnik Law is a trucking accident attorney who represents clients in Kansas, Nebraska, Texas, Florida, Missouri, and Illinois who experience an independent contractor accident involving a large vehicle. Whether the accident occurred in Arkansas City, Wichita, Garden City, Liberal, Pratt, Kingman, Hays, Colby, Satanta, Colby, Goodland, Ness City, Scott City, Newton, McPherson, Arkansas City, Haysville, Atchison, Pittsburg, Great Bend, Papillon, Ada, Wahoo, Aurora, Sidney, Lexington, South Sioux City, Beatrice, Ada, Moore, Grand Island, Independence, Edmond, Peoria, Glenpool, Choctaw, Arlington Heights, Woodward, Joliet, Springfield, Miami, Harlingen, Boca Raton, Callahan, Vero Beach, Coral Gables, Miami Beach, Houston, McKinney, Bonner Springs, Leavenworth, Manhattan, Wellington, San Antonio, or elsewhere in these states, our team works to secure the compensation our clients need to recover from an accident involving a semi-truck.

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