The number of fatal accidents involving large trucks is on the rise in the United States, and federal investigators believe that a growing number of these accidents are caused by big rigs continuously traveling at speeds that are faster than their tires are rated for. Between the years of 2009 and 2013, there were approximately 14,000 fatal accidents across the nation that involved large trucks or buses. Of those, 223 were related to large truck tires.
Earlier this year, an investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) revealed that multiple Michelin tire blowouts were caused from the lack of maintenance and large trucks traveling at high rates of speed. An increase in maximum speed limits in various states is partially to blame. According to the NHTSA, most truck tires are rated at 75 mph., and no truck tire is rated at higher than 81 mph. At this time, 16 states have maximum truck speed limits of at least 75 mph., and four states have set their maximum speed limits to 80 mph. Since 2009, injuries caused by large truck accident have risen an alarming 28 percent, while the number of fatalities has risen a disturbing 17 percent.
While the American Trucking Association (ATA) has been warning the federal government of the issue for years, and have requested that special electronic limiters that would cap a truck’s top speed at 65 mph. be required, the issue has yet to be resolved. According to the NHTSA, a new rule is being developed that will require the electronic limiters. At this time, only 70 percent of trucking companies limit the speed of their truckers. According to truck injury lawyer Henry Queener, “Lowering the maximum speed for truckers is not just an effective solution for the tire blowout epidemic, it will reduce the number of accidents caused by driving at excessive speeds as well”