The loss of a tire on a semi-truck can cause the vehicle to veer out of control and cause an accident. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, tire blowouts cause more than 78,000 accidents and more than 400 fatalities each year.
Causes of Tire Blowouts
Poor maintenance is the leading cause of tire blowouts on semi-trucks and rising large truck accident rates. Operators who fail to maintain the tread and balance of each tire on the vehicle increase the likelihood of a tire failure.
Improperly inflating the tire is the next most common cause of tire blowout. Tires that are overinflated can explode as the pressure pushes the tire beyond operational limits. Under-inflating the tire can allow the rim to cut through it completely.
The third most common cause of tire failure is due to hazards in the roadway including nails, lumber, and rocks.
Effects of a Tire Blowout
Semi-truck tires weigh an average of 107 pounds. These tires contain metal and hard rubber elements that can shatter glass windshields and cause serious bodily injuries when they blowout at highway speeds.
A semi-truck that loses a tire to a blowout can become unstable in the roadway. It can easily lead the semi-truck to topple over or lose its ability to stay in its lane. When this happens, it can cause the semi-truck to veer into other vehicles traveling in the roadway, or off the road and into sidewalks or structures.
Liability for a Tire Blowout
Depending on the cause of the blowout, semi-truck accident lawyers can pursue liability from several parties following an accident.
First, the driver of the vehicle and/or the company they work for could be held liable for poor maintenance or the unsafe operation of the vehicle that caused the blowout.
If the accident occurred because the tire was improperly retreaded or repaired, the company responsible for the retreading or repair could be held liable for the personal injuries and property damage their shoddy workmanship caused.
When the manufacturing process is at fault, then the company manufacturing the tire can be held liable. Such was the case with Bridgestone/Firestone not long ago.
Finally, if an object in the roadway caused the accident, the individual or company transporting the fallen cargo could be held responsible — for example, if a shipment of nails fell off a trailer and punctured tires on vehicles following in the roadway.