Primary Causes of 18-Wheeler Tire Blowouts
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) conducted a comprehensive study of truck accidents known as the Large Truck Crash Causation Study to identify the primary risks facing the trucking industry. In this study, the FMCSA determined that out of the 142,000 serious truck accidents reviewed, 8,000, or 5.6% of the total crashes, were caused by tire blowouts.
While some tire blowouts are unavoidable, the vast majority are preventable. After an accident caused by a tire blowout, tire defect attorneys are responsible for identifying the cause of the blowout and holding the responsible party liable for their actions. Some common causes of preventable tire blowouts include:
- Tire Defects: Truck tires may fail under normal operating conditions because of inherent abnormalities or defects within the structure of the tire. Tire defects pose a serious blowout risk because they are virtually undetectable during routine maintenance and repair. Defective tires are unfit for service and must be removed from our roadways.
- Improperly Installed Tires: Manufacturers produce tires for each section of an 18-wheeler truck. A standard 18-wheeler truck will utilize steer axle tires—placed on the front of the tractor, drive tires—placed on the back of the tractor, and trailer tires—placed on the truck’s trailer. Additionally, commercial vehicles may use different tires for different purposes. Equipping trucks and trailers with the right tires is necessary for safe travel.
Steer Axle Tire Blowout Crashes
When the front axle tires, also known as steer axle tires, explode, even the most experienced drivers can lose control. According to a study by UMTRI (University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute), approximately 70 percent of fatal crashes resulting from truck tire blowouts occur after a steer axle tire failure.
A blown steer axle tire causes the truck to drop to the side of the blown tire and pull in that direction. This creates a highly dangerous emergency that leaves the driver with only moments to act. Unfortunately, even for the most experienced drivers, a steer axle tire blowout often proves uncontrollable and routinely leads to fatal accidents.
Preventing Truck Tire Blowout Accidents
Given the serious risk of harm posed when a truck tire blows at highway speeds, the federal government has enacted strict rules to govern the tire and trucking industry.
Tire Manufacturers have a responsibility to produce tires that are safe for their intended purpose. Tire manufacturers are responsible for any accident caused by a defective tire, including accidents caused by tires defective in design, manufacturing, or marketing.
- Design: Failure to design tires according to the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) can lead to tires that shred, blow out, or separate under normal operating conditions. At the very minimum, manufacturers must certify that their tires comply with FMVSS to prevent potentially catastrophic tire blowouts.
- Manufacture: Failure to ensure safe manufacturing practices can lead to assembly line errors and manufacturing mistakes that lead to defective tires. Constant inspection and quality control standards are necessary to catch manufacturing errors and ensure tires are produced with materials free of contaminants.
- Marketing: Consumers must be given reliable information regarding the maintenance of their tires and its expected life. Misrepresentations in product warnings and literature can lead to the circulation of defective tires.
Our Houston 18-wheeler truck blowout lawyers are prepared to fight for you. Call us at (281) 801-5617 or contact us online to learn how we can help you recover compensation after a truck tire blowout.