Tractor trailer accidents are some of the most deadly accidents on our roadways. These massive semi-trucks can absolutely destroy small passenger cars, seriously injuring or killing the families inside. For years we have known that issues like driver fatigue and insufficient training can contribute to these accidents, but now another cause has become apparent. The truck drivers are driving too fast for the tires they are using.
Truck Tires Cannot Withstand the 75 mph Speeds
CBS News reports that big-rig tire-related accidents are on the rise because the tires on the trucks cannot withstand 75 miles-per-hour speeds, yet truck drivers are driving that fast. Between 2009 and 2013 there were 223 fatalities that were caused by issues with heavy truck tires. A National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) investigation into some of these blowouts found that high speeds and a lack of maintenance were to blame. According to NHTSA there are not any big truck tires that are rated to exceed speeds of 81 miles per hour, and most of them are rated at 75 miles per hour. Because sixteen states have truck speed limits that are greater than or equal to 75 miles per hour many truck drivers are exceeding the speeds for which their tires are rated.
Did the Industry Knew About the Problem?
The American Trucking Association (ATA) told CBS that it has been warning of these dangers for years. The president of the ATA says that the industry has been asking the federal government to require the use of electronic devices that would cap trucks’ speed at 65 miles per hour. If the industry was widely aware of this serious problem but did nothing to prevent drivers from exceeding the capabilities of their tires, then they may very well be liable for injuries caused by this behavior. It is unclear whether the drivers themselves would have had any reason to know about this issue. Right now there are not specific requirements that tire labels include a tire’s maximum safe speed. However, NHTSA is taking steps to modify the standard label on tires so that this information will be easily available and obvious to truck drivers in the future.
It is also worth considering this information in light of the other issues that often come up in truck accident cases. We know that many truck drivers are under incredible pressure to cover as many miles as possible as quickly as possible. This pressure is a big contributor to driver fatigue which is a serious cause of truck accidents. Just as this pressure causes some drivers to skirt the rules when it comes to sleeping, it could also cause some drivers to skirt the speed recommendations when it comes to safety. When this happens, we are all at risk. That is why it is important to hold the industry responsible for this practice and for any other practices that put everyone on the roadway in danger.
Contact Goldstein Hayes & Lina, LLC
If you or a loved one has suffered injuries due to an accident involving a big rig, the experienced attorneys at Goldstein Hayes & Lina, LLC are here to help you with your case. Contact us today for a free consultation.