BROWARD COUNTY, Fla. – Two women, ages 47 and 22, died Dec. 14 after a tire blew out on the SUV they were traveling in near Alligator Alley in Weston.
With three women and two toddlers aboard, the SUV was westbound on Interstate 75 near mile marker 28 when the rear tire on the driver’s side of the vehicle blew out, according to local officials.
After the 47-year-old driver lost control of the SUV, the vehicle ran onto the grass shoulder and hit a barbed wire fence and vegetation before crashing into a canal along Alligator Alley.
Several people who saw the accident happen or drove upon it stopped on the side of the roadway, and jumped into the canal to try to rescue the occupants of the sinking SUV.
The driver and 22-year-old passenger were transported to local hospitals, where they succumbed to their injuries later that day. Three other passengers, including a 40-year-old woman and two 2-year-olds, were transported to local hospitals with minor injuries and have since been released.
Authorities have not identified the victims, nor released any additional information about the crash.
Commentary on accident involving tire failure in Broward County
I was disturbed to learn of this terrible accident that killed two women and injured a third woman and two small children. According to the report, a rear driver’s side tire blew out, causing the driver to lose control of the vehicle, run off the road, and crash into a canal.
During the last 30 years, I have seen hundreds of accidents similar to this one in my practice as a personal injury and product defect attorney. Although the report does not indicate what contributed to the tire failure, blow outs typically are caused by just a few factors.
Some of these factors are preventable. Tire maintenance, such as proper inflation, rotation, balancing, and regular replacement, can help avoid blow outs. Blow outs can also occur when an object, such as a nail, is run over in the roadway, or when driving over damaged roads. In these instances, the driver can only hope to see the object or the road damage in time to steer clear, if traffic permits.
However, I have handled far too many cases in which a tire failure resulted from a manufacturing defect that is out of the driver's control. When this happens, the weakness in the tire begins at the factory. With today’s technology and improved materials, such as tire pressure monitoring systems and the incorporation of a nylon cap ply, blow outs due to tire defect should be a thing of the past. Sadly, they are not.
To determine whether product defect contributed to this tragic accident, a thorough investigation of the tire and any pieces that may have separated from the tread must be conducted. Therefore, it is imperative that these materials be preserved for inspection.
I will continue to investigate tire failure accidents to pressure companies to manufacture dependable tires, thereby helping keep our highways safer.
I extend my deepest sympathy to the victims and hopes for a quick and complete recovery for the injured.
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