Have you ever been on the highway doing 65 mph only for a huge truck to zoom past you doing what you are convinced is more than 90 mph?
You probably took notice not just because of its speed but also the lurch your car experienced as the speeding monster overtook you. While there are laws that require vehicles adhere to certain speed limits, the reality is that many drivers including truckers sometimes exceed it and that causes truck accidents.
Truck Accident and the Many Causes
There are multiple risks that come with speeding trucks. The most obvious is the driver has less control of the vehicle should something happen. The other risk albeit less apparent is that speeding tests the limits of the vehicle’s tires. Many truck tires are designed to comfortably withstand sustained speeds of 75mph or less. This does not mean the tires will give way the moment this speed is exceeded. Rather, the longer the truck drives at higher speeds, the higher the possibility the tire will experience catastrophic failure.
Driving a truck beyond the rated speed of its tires is courting disaster. Remember, the tires achieve traction because of the friction they have with the road surface. A byproduct of this contact is heat and this increases with higher speeds. This is particularly pronounced on asphalt roads as they experience higher surface temperature than concrete roads under similar conditions. The heat can accelerate the disintegration of the tire. You have likely seen the remains of truck tires littering the country’s highways.
High Number of Truck Accidents
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the country had 14,000 accidents involving commercial trucks between 2009 and 2013. Of these, nearly 200 are a result of tire failures. It would be safe to assume that a significant proportion of these tire accidents occur due to speeding.
Truckers have argued that the bulk of tire accidents should be blamed on manufacturers. As evidence, they have cited the disproportionately high number of such failures attributed to specific brands. The trucking industry has also pointed to the high highway speed limit in some states. The NHTSA has rebuffed these allegations and insisted drivers are at fault in majority of cases.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR) requires truck drivers to understand the limit of their equipment and always prioritize safety considerations. The regulations task drivers with ensuring the vehicle is regularly serviced and tires closely inspected for wear and tear. Checking all the tires on an 18 wheeler can seem tedious. However, it not only reduces the risk of a serious accident but it also makes resolution of insurance cases around truck accidents less complicated.
Note that inspecting tires is not only about examining the physical surface for early signs of failure. Keep an eye on tire pressure and have it checked regularly or before embarking on a major trip. The load on each tire will vary based on its position and many truck fleets have different specifications for trailer, drive and steer tires.
Always check tire pressure at times when outside temperatures are low (e.g. in the morning) and before the truck has been driven for long. Heat tends to increase the tire’s pressure and can lead to an overestimation of the tire’s ‘real’ pressure. As a general rule, an under inflated tire is a significantly higher risk than one that is over inflated by a few notches. The under inflated tire will have more contact with the road surface and has a higher risk of collapse during high speeds.
Questions about Truck Accidents call an Attorney
If a tire leads to a truck accident, the driver and the company they work for could be found liable for the damage and injuries to the other party. When faced with a truck tire accident, it is important for both parties to seek the services of a truck accident attorney. This will ensure their interests are adequately protected.