Mechanical failure, including tire failure, is a known cause of many tractor-trailer accidents every year. Tire blowouts are extremely dangerous when big rigs are traveling at a high speed; the 18-wheeler crashes on I-45 and other highways that happen can be devastating. Trucking accident attorneys point out that most of these accidents are preventable because they are often caused by driving at excessive speeds. Accident analysis reveals that most truck tire failures are caused by misuse, not defective tires. To avoid having to hire truck crash attorneys who handle cases resulting from accidents on I45, truckers must slow down and drive at a safe speed that is safe for their tires, or risk a blowout.
Tire Speed Ratings and Big Trucks
Tires are designed to be safe and durable for a certain number of miles up to specific speeds. These speed and mileage ratings determine the life expectancy of a tire when properly used and inflated as well as driven at the proper speed. When use exceeds recommendations, damage can occur. Trucking accident attorneys say this is commonly seen with tires that are under-inflated, as they experience excess wear and stress. Driving at excessive speeds can also damage tires.
Most commercial truck tires are rated for driving at a specific inflation up to 75 mph. When they are regularly driven at higher speeds, tire damage can happen and lead to blowouts and other failures. According to truck crash attorneys who handle cases resulting from accidents on our nation’s highways, the problem is not with the tires. The problem lies in the fact that many big rigs are driven over the speed limit, putting undue stress on tires rated for lower speeds. Ironically, passenger tires are rated much higher, providing an ample safety margin; however, this margin does not exist with commercial tires used on big rigs.
Speed Limits and Commercial Truck Tires
A seemingly easy solution for the failure of truck tires driven at excessive speeds should be for drivers to slow down, especially considering that until recently, these speeds exceeded interstate speed limits. Unfortunately, the problem is not that simple. While most commercial tires are rated to be driven at speeds of 75 mph or less, interstate speeds continue to rise, some up to 85 mph. Considering the fact that some drivers exceed the posted speed limit, this leaves many trucks routinely speeding down the highway on tires rated for 75 mph at speeds of 90 mph or more. Additionally, many state legislators who set interstate speed limits don’t know that tire speed ratings exist, or that exceeding such ratings is an important factor in many big rig accidents.
Lower Speeds Equals Safer Tires
Increasing tire ratings with more durably designed tires has been suggested to tire manufacturers; however, current thought is that most companies would not use them. Some trucking companies promote driving 75 mph or less and even use speed arrestors to prevent their trucks from exceeding that speed. In reality, there are many companies that don’t do this, so tire failure from exceeding the speed limit is a real concern as well as a cause of over 50 deaths per year from 18 wheeler crashes. Some safety groups suggest the mandatory use of speed arrestors in heavy-duty trucks; however, this issue is still being investigated to find the best resolution.
The trucking industry and national safety groups promote awareness of this problem and seek compliance from both truck drivers and trucking companies. Trucking accident attorneys also agree that state legislators who set interstate speed limits must be made aware of the significance of this problem and how it increases 18-wheeler crashes on I-45. Lower speed limits, mandatory speed arrestors, and improved tire construction to increase safety are all ideas that must be considered to prevent big rig accidents and keep our highways safe!
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