Addressing issues that significantly impact public safety is important to the lawyers at McGinn, Montoya, Love & Curry, P.A. One such issue that deserves our attention is tire maintenance for commercial vehicles. Why is this a point of public concern? Poorly maintained tires pose serious risks to drivers and other road users, and recent statistics show that truck accidents caused by tire failure are all too common.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), tire-related issues cause approximately 11,000 accidents and 200 fatalities annually in the United States. Commercial trucks are particularly vulnerable to tire failure due to their size and weight, which puts a lot of stress on the tires, especially when they are not properly maintained.
3 Common Commercial Tire Issues
The most common tire issues commercial drivers encounter include underinflation, overloading, and wear and tear.
Underinflation is a leading cause of tire failure, as the tires can overheat and wear down faster.
When commercial vehicles' tires are underinflated, it can lead to significant problems, including:
- Lower Fuel Efficiency – Underinflated tires create more friction between the tire and the road surface, which requires more power and fuel to move. As a result, commercial vehicles with underinflated tires may experience lower fuel efficiency, leading to increased costs for the company and potentially harming the environment through increased emissions.
- Handling and Control of the Vehicle – When a tire is underinflated, it creates a larger contact patch with the road surface, increasing the risk of hydroplaning on wet roads. Additionally, an underinflated tire can cause the vehicle to sway on the road, making it difficult to control and increasing the risk of an accident.
- Complete Tire Failure – Underinflated tires can lead to a complete tire failure. When a tire is not properly inflated, it puts extra stress on the tire's sidewalls, which can cause them to flex, heat up, and eventually fail. This can lead to blowouts, which can cause the driver to lose control of the vehicle and potentially cause a serious accident.
Overloading is a common issue that can cause tire failure on commercial vehicles. When a vehicle carries more weight than it is designed to handle, the extra weight puts a strain on the tires, causing them to wear out prematurely and increasing the risk of blowouts. Overloading can also increase the risk of other safety hazards, such as brake failure or suspension damage.
The maximum load capacity of a commercial vehicle varies depending on its design and specifications. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) sets weight restrictions on commercial vehicles to ensure their safe operation on the road. These restrictions include gross vehicle weight limits, axle weight limits, and tire weight ratings.
- Wear and Tear
Wear and tearis inevitable, but regular inspections can help identify when to replace tires before they become a hazard on the road. Over time, tires naturally wear down due to constant use on the road, exposure to weather conditions, and other factors. However, excessive tire wear and tear can cause serious issues for commercial drivers and others on the road.
When a tire is worn down too much, it can affect its ability to grip the road surface, impacting the vehicle's handling and stopping distance. This can increase the risk of accidents, especially in wet or slippery conditions. Additionally, excessively worn tires are more susceptible to punctures and blowouts, which can cause the driver to lose control of the vehicle.
To avoid these tire issues, regular maintenance is crucial for commercial vehicles. Commercial drivers should inspect their tires regularly, looking for signs of damage, wear, and proper inflation. Proper inflation is critical, as underinflated tires can lead to increased fuel consumption, decreased tire life, reduced handling, and increased risk of accidents.
Related Reading: Proving a Truck Company’s Improper Maintenance of Its Trucks
Federal Safety Standards & Regulations
In addition to regular inspections, commercial drivers should follow safety standards and regulations set by the FMCSA. Some regulations include minimum tread depth requirements, load limits, and weight restrictions. These regulations ensure that commercial vehicles operate safely on the road and prevent accidents caused by improperly loaded or overweight vehicles.
Aside from the safety and legal benefits, there are also financial benefits to maintaining tires properly. Regular tire maintenance leads to lower fuel consumption, saving companies significant amounts of money over time.
Related Reading: FMCSA Regulations for Securing Cargo
Find a Lawyer Today!
In the unfortunate event of a truck accident caused by tire failure, commercial drivers and other road users have legal recourse against companies that may have cut corners when hiring and training drivers and enforcing safety rules. Our team of lawyers at McGinn, Montoya, Love & Curry, P.A. are well-versed in truck accident cases and can help victims receive compensation for their injuries and damage.
Related Reading: Understanding the Role of Truck Company Liability in Accidents
Maintaining tires on commercial vehicles is crucial to prevent accidents caused by tire failure. Regular inspections, following safety standards and regulations set by the FMCSA, and proper inflation are all key components of tire maintenance. Not only does proper tire maintenance ensure the safety of drivers and other road users, but it also has financial benefits for companies.
If you’ve been a victim of a truck accident caused by tire failure, call (505) 405-4441 and speak with a seasoned lawyer in Albuquerque, NM.