According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), tire blowouts and flat tires cause nearly 78,000 accidents each year. An average commercial truck can weigh up to 80,000 pounds, which means that truck accidents are likely to involve catastrophic injuries or even fatalities. For this reason, truck drivers and their companies should always maintain their vehicles in order to prevent serious collisions.
Commercial trucks have tire problems more often than people might think. While the truck companies are legally obligated to make sure their trucks are operating as safely as possible, safety checks do not always happen like they should. With the power and weight behind a large truck and the sudden veering when a tire blows, any car in its path is a potential target. Trucks have a fragile weight balance, a high center of gravity, narrow distance between the left and right wheels, and heavy loads. Small changes in the components of the truck can lead to serious truck accidents.
What are the Most Common Causes of Tire Blowouts?
Many different factors can lead to a tire blowout truck accident. In some cases, tire blowouts are caused by external factors, such as potholes or obstacles in the road. If a driver was involved in an accident that was caused by an external factor, it can reduce their liability, depending on how they reacted after the blowout. Here are the most common reasons why tire blowouts occur:
- Potholes: Potholes can pinch the tires, causing fraying or cuts to the interior.
- Heat: Heat inflates tires, so if tires are already overinflated, the friction caused by the hot asphalt creates problems.
- Underinflation: When tires are not kept at the proper pressure, the internal components flex more than they are meant to.
- Overloading: When trucks go above their weight-carrying capacity, the tires bear the burden.
- Misalignment: Sometimes, the alignment can cause the tires to weaken.
- Insufficient Tread: Tire rot, tread separation, or cracks in the sidewall all lead to insufficient tread.
- Tire Age: The longer a tire is used, the more chance it has for something to weaken.
- Damaged Rims: Bent or poorly fitting rims can mean the tires are not secure.
- Driver Error: This includes hitting curbs, failure to notice issues with the tire, driving in unsafe conditions, and other preventable issues.
These reasons do not always mean immediate tire blowouts will occur. Many times, it is repeated wear over time that eventually leads to a tire blowout. Michelin, a tire manufacturer, recommends replacing tires after a maximum of 10 years, and proper maintenance is important too.
How can Tire Blowout Truck Accidents be Prevented?
Tire blowouts are usually the result of negligent maintenance or defects in the tires. Anyone that operates a vehicle has a responsibility to maintain their tires as well as the rest of their vehicle. One way to do this is to make sure the vehicle is always current on inspections and properly maintained. It is also important to know how the vehicle functions and the auto safety features. While driving, a truck driver should do what they can to prevent overactive steering or panic driving and always pay attention to their surroundings.
Who is Responsible for Tire Blowouts?
Liability will depend on the cause of the tire blowout truck accident. Many parties can be responsible, such as the truck driver, trucking company, maintenance company, or the tire manufacturer. Drivers are expected to inspect their tires daily since they are the ones operating the trucks. They should replace them as needed; failing to do so puts other motorists in danger.
Trucking companies also have a responsibility. They must maintain their fleet and meet safety standards regularly, keeping documentation of all work done. Infrequent inspection or failing to fix any known issues can create liability for any potential tire blowout accident. Maintenance companies that are contracted out to do this work can also be held liable if they fail to uphold their duties.
Sometimes, there are defects in a tire that no amount of maintenance can catch. Fundamental design flaws or manufacturing defects may mean that the tire designer or manufacturer can be held liable. If a defect is not noticed or the installation is not done properly, even the mechanic can be held responsible.
Determining who is responsible is important in any potential case. Having an experienced truck accident lawyer can help a victim navigate their case so that they can recover necessary damages.
Wilmington Truck Accident Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Help Clients Injured During Tire Blowout Truck Accidents
When a tire blowout causes a truck accident, it can create a traumatic situation for all drivers on the road. Whether the tire blowout was caused by the negligence of the driver or company, a Wilmington truck accident lawyer at Rhoades & Morrow will help you with your case. Our legal team understands how truck accidents can be devastating, and we will help you receive your entitled compensation for your recovery. Call us at (302) 427-9500 or contact us online for a free consultation and more information about your case. We have offices located in Wilmington, Bear, and Milford, Delaware, and we proudly serve clients throughout Middletown, Dover, Milford, Lewes, Rehoboth, Elsmere, and Seaford.