Defective Tires and Serious Truck Crashes

truck tires small pixlr

Of the countless events either cancelled or postponed this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, one is the 2020 International Roadcheck conducted by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance.  It is an annual three-day set of random roadside inspections of commercial trucks.  This year’s event was to be held in May but was postponed indefinitely.

Law enforcement and safety officials would have pulled over thousands of tractor-trailers and conducted thorough inspections of their rigs to uncover unsafe and dangerous commercial trucks.

Judging by last year’s results, let alone all previous events, the outcome of this year’s International Roadcheck would have been eye-opening.

12,000 Commercial Trucks with Serious Maintenance Violations

In 2019, the officials inspected just over 67,000 big rigs.  They found enough serious maintenance issues in the commercial trucks to take nearly 18%, or about 12,000 18-wheelers, off the road for immediate repair.

In terms of mechanical issues found on the trucks, bad brakes were the leading item. At 28% of the “out-of-service” violations uncovered last year, defective braking systems was the most common truck maintenance concern.

The second most common serious maintenance issue was defective truck tires and wheels, accounting for almost two out of every 10 out-of-service violations issued.

Dangerous truck tires are a known cause of serious commercial truck crashes.  In 2007 the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration released its “Large Truck Causation Study,” which is to date the most comprehensive look at the causes of catastrophic commercial truck accidents.  The truck crashes in the study resulted in either serious injury or fatalities.

The study identified mechanical issues as the “critical reason” for 10% of the accidents.

Of those, the study listed dangerous brakes as the leading maintenance issue, found in 41,000 truck crashes.  But bad tires were also found on 8,000 trucks involved in fatal or injury crashes, and were estimated to be a slightly higher risk for serious accidents than bad brakes.

Yet accidents involving defective truck tires are preventable when proper precautions are taken.

Underinflated Tires on Trucks and Commercial Trailers

The FMCSA also found that half of commercial trucks and 68% of trailers had tires that were underinflated by as much as 5 psi. And 7% of trucks had tires underinflated by 20 psi or more.

Why is this important? It’s been estimated that under-inflation causes 85% of dangerous truck tire blowouts.

To avoid serious crashes caused by bad tires, the FMCSA offers a list of commercial tire safety tips for truckers and truck fleet owners.  These include:

·         Examine truck tires every day for signs of cracking or irregular tread wear

·         Gauge truck tire pressure cold and address if necessary before every road trip

·         Avoid overloading cargo

·         Do not exceed tire manufacturers’ speed rating

Regular maintenance, which will catch defective parts such as worn or underinflated truck tires, is a responsibility the trucking industry should take earnestly.  If not, innocent victims may suffer.

If you were seriously injured or lost a loved one in a crash with a commercial truck, speak with a truck accident lawyer about pursuing just compensation for all negligent parties.

The choice of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely on advertisements.

Authored by Gray Ritter Graham, posted in Blog June 10, 2020


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