All you have to do is drive any stretch of a major roadway, and you will see the result of truck tire blowouts. These are the large pieces of rubber, which are often scattered all over the road. Often referred to as road gators, due to their appearance. These remnants are not only dangerous when they initially fly off the offending truck, but continue to be dangerous while lying in the road. If you are injured due to an accident caused by a truck tire blowout, who is to blame? It may be more people than you think.
How Deadly Can Road Gators Be?
Although the average weight of a car tire is somewhere around 22 pounds, a truck tire can weigh 120 pounds or more. This means when a tire blows, and the rubber shreds off of the axle, there can be a considerable amount of weight hurling through the air. These hurling remnants can cause accidents in a wide variety of ways.
- Flying tire remnants can crack or break your windshield.
- They can cause dents and other damage to your vehicle.
- Remnants can cause you to swerve into oncoming traffic, off the shoulder of the road, or lose control of your car.
- Depending on the tire blown, it can cause the truck to swerve, jackknife, or lose control, etc.
Unfortunately, depending on where the tire is located on the truck or the trailer, the truck that blows the tire, may not even be aware the tire has blown. This is especially true if the tire is located on a double axle trailer. This is because the other tires will often compensate for the missing tire, at least for a short period of time. This means the truck, and truck driver, may continue down the road, while you are being left to deal with the aftermath.
What Causes Truck Tires To Blow?
The most common causes of truck tire failure usually are one or two reasons:
Defective Tires - Unfortunately, just like any other product manufactured, there are defects. Many times these defective tires are sold and not discovered to be defective until there has been several complaints filed against them. This may result in the tires being recalled, but it is often difficult to get this information out to all of the trucking companies, especially the small independent truckers. A list of tire recalls can be found on the DOT's website.
Failure To Maintain Tires - Damaged and worn tires are prime candidates to blow. Trucking companies have a duty to ensure the tires on their trucks meet the minimum DOT tread depth requirements. These requirements are 4/32 of an inch on drive tires, and 2/32 of an inch on trailer tires. Running on tires with less tread depth less than this will not only put the driver at risk of having a tire to blow, but will also put them at risk of receiving a ticket, and can even result in the truck being placed out of service. Drivers also need to ensure tires are not mismounted by varying types or sizes.
All truckers are required to perform a pre-trip inspection of their truck and their trailer. Even if they are hauling trailers that do not personally belong to them, or the company they drive for, they are responsible for ensuring the equipment is safe to be on the road. During this inspection, they should be looking at their tire tread, tread wear, looking for evidence of air leakage, sidewall and tread damage, and more.
What You Need To Do In The Event Of An Accident
If you are injured in an accident due to a road gator, or a tire blowout on a large commercial vehicle, you will need to get all of the pertinent information available on the truck which caused the accident. This is easy to do if the truck pulls over, but can be quite difficult if the truck keeps going. If this is the case, ask one of your passengers to shoot a quick video of the moving truck. This video may give you the information you need at a later date.
Immediately report your accident. Even if your car is drivable, filing a report at the time of the accident will clear up any questions the investigating officer, as well as your insurance company, may have later. Make sure you seek any medical attention needed by you and your passengers.
Once this is all done, contact an experienced truck accident attorney. Upon reviewing your case, they will be able to advise you on whether you have a viable claim against the trucking company, the driver, or even the tire manufacturer. They will be able to get you the compensation you are entitled to. Check out sites like http://asmlegal.net/ for more info.