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Truck tires and highway safety

It appears there is a significant connection between tire safety and tractor-trailer crashes on our nation’s highways. While tires often can only handle speeds of 75 miles per hour, drivers of big-rig trucks often drive these vehicles in excess of that speed.

Missouri is contemplating allowing truckers to drive their vehicles at speeds of 75 miles per hour. A number of states in the U.S. already allow trucks to drive 80 miles per hour. Unfortunately, many of those officials responsible for setting the speed limit may not be aware of the limitations of tires on these vehicles. Others feel it’s up to those operating the trucks to understand the limitations of the trucks they drive.

Though many truckers and truck companies do a good job of maintaining their vehicles, a substantial numbers of trucks on the road still appear poorly maintained. In a Michelin investigation of a small number of trucks, reportedly over half contained overburdened tires due to heavy loads or low air pressure. The drivers also did not appear to know what the proper inflation pressure would be for the tires on their trucks.

Though the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is contemplating requirements listing speeds allowable on the sidewall of truck tires, we will need to wait and see if such legislation ever becomes law. In the meantime, blowouts of tires on trucks lead to serious accidents. There were 14,000 fatal bus or truck crashesbetween 2009 and 2013 leading to close to 16,000 fatalities.

Without appropriate laws in place to prevent truck accidents from occurring, we have to hold truckers, trucking companies and their insurers accountable for injuries occurring due to truck accidents. Holding trucking companies liable in court creates incentives for the companies to properly maintain their vehicles and place limitations on how fast truck drivers can operate these trucks.

Source: Epoch Times, “Big Rigs Push Tire Safety Limits,” March 31, 2015

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