There are thousands of semi-trucks driving through and around the state of Virginia. These commercial vehicles are designed with 18 wheels, which are needed in order to handle the size and weight of the truck and the cargo they carry. With more than quadruple the number of tires on a passenger vehicle, combined with the high number of miles traveled and weight they are hauling, it’s no wonder that commercial trucks are at a much higher risk of tire blowouts. This is why it is critical for truck drivers and trucking companies to always be diligent about regular inspection and maintenance of tires. A tire blowout accident can result in serious accidents, resulting in severe injury or death.
What Causes Tire Blowouts?
Although tires are made of hard materials, these materials eventually wear out. The more miles a vehicle wracks up, the quicker the materials will wear out and tires weaken. If the tread of a tire gets too low, it may not be able to handle the weight of the truck and cargo and can blow. A tire that is not properly inflated can also be at a high risk of a blowout. Fluctuation in temperature can contribute to pressure changes in the tire, as well.
Another dangerous issue is when the truck is overloaded with cargo or the cargo has been improperly loaded. This can cause the tread in the tires to wear in an uneven pattern. Tires should be inspected before and after each trip. If there are any signs of wear, the tire should be replaced immediately.
Worn and blown tires pose dangers for both the truck driver and for the other commuters sharing the road. A blown tire can cause the truck driver to lose control of the truck and slam into other vehicles or pedestrians. And even if the truck driver does manage to avoid crashing, the pieces of the tire can become loose and hit other vehicles or cause a driver to swerve and crash.
Heat also contributes to tire blowouts in trucks. When a truck is on the road, the tires heat up and this heat can cause the air pressure in the tire to change. This is especially a problem when the truck has been traveling for long periods of time. If the truck is traveling at a high rate of speed and the tire blows, the loss of control of the vehicle is just as deadly as a bullet.
How Common Are Truck Tire Blowouts?
A comprehensive study, Large Truck Crash Causation Study, was conducted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) in order to improve trucking safety by determining why semi-truck accidents happened. The FMCSA studied data from more than 140,000 crashes that resulted in either injuries or deaths. Approximately 8,000 of these crashes were caused by truck tire blowouts.
Most of those 8,000 crashes and the injuries and lives lost were likely preventable had truck drivers and truck owners inspected and maintained their vehicles the way they are required to by law. Inspecting the tires to make sure they are properly inflated and in good condition before and after each trip and replacing tires that are not up to standard is a small price to pay to save lives.
Call a Virginia Truck Accident Attorney
Truck accident injury cases are often complex than other types of crashes because there is usually more than one at-fault party who is responsible for damages that the victim may be entitled to.
If you have been injured in a truck accident, you are likely facing major medical expenses and a long recovery. This can also mean loss of income and benefits because you are unable to work. When the accident was caused by another party’s negligent or reckless behavior, Virginia allows victims to take legal action in order to be financially compensated for all of these losses. Victims can also pursue damages for losses that are not economic, such as pain and suffering, scarring emotional anguish, and more.
Truck accidents can be more complex than other types of motor vehicle accidents because depending on the circumstances of the crash, there may be multiple parties who are liable for a victim’s injuries.
If you would like to discuss your situation, contact our office to speak with a seasoned Virginia truck accident attorney. Shapiro, Appleton & Washburn has been advocating for accident victims for more than three decades and will work diligently to get you the compensation you deserve.