The Dangers of Semi-Truck Tire Blowouts
If you have spent any time driving on Southern California’s highways, you have no doubt encountered some debris on the side of the road that is from a shredded tire of a semi-truck. Large commercial trucks have serious tire problems far more frequently than most people think. This is alarming, as semi-truck tire blowouts are an extremely dangerous occurrence. In fact, a tire blowout could potentially lead to a deadly accident.
The U.S. Department of Transportation released a study earlier this year that analyzed statistical data on large truck crashes between 2001 and 2010. The numbers are encouraging but hard to ignore. In 2010 there were over 3,200 large truck fatal crashes – that’s almost 9 crashes per day where someone has lost their life. Assuming at least one fatality, more people die in truck fatalities each year than on 9/11. And 2010 was a good year compared to the previous nine years.
The big trucking companies have a legal duty to ensure that they are always operating their fleet with the highest level of safety in mind. This means making sure that each truck’s tires are safe before every long-haul trip. Unfortunately, all too often, trucking companies fail to live up to this basic legal duty, and they put semi-trucks on the road on unsafe tires.
At Fisher & Talwar, our top-rated Los Angeles truck accidents lawyers are committed to promoting safer highways in Southern California. We hold negligent trucking companies liable for their negligence and misconduct. If you or a loved one was injured in an accident caused by a semi-truck’s tire blowout or any other tire-related problems, we are here to help. Please do not hesitate to contact our team today for immediate, free legal assistance.
Commercial Truck Tire Blowout Accident Statistics
In an effort to improve trucking safety, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) conducted a comprehensive Large Truck Crash Causation Study. The purpose of this research was to determine exactly why semi-truck crashes occur. Then, with that data in mind, federal regulators would have the information needed to institute more effective safety rules.
In all, the FMCSA reviewed nearly 142,000 serious large truck accidents. All crashes that were studied resulted in either injuries or fatalities. FMCSA officials determined that 8,000 of these semi-truck accidents or 5.6% of the total crashes studied, were caused primarily by truck tire blowouts. When a tractor-trailer does blow a tire, the consequences can be truly devastating.
Why Do Truck Tire Blowouts Occur?
In a limited number of cases, truck tire blowouts happen for reasons that are entirely out of the control of the trucking company or any person or entity that has any role in operating, inspecting, or repairing the truck. For example, there may be some type of unavoidable debris on the highway or an unseeable pothole. A trucker may have had no reasonable opportunity to avoid the problem, and a tire blowout may result. That being said, these types of cases are notably rare. The vast majority of the time, truck tire blowouts could and should have been prevented. Some of the most common reasons why they occur include:
- Truck Driver Error: One of the most common reasons why semi-truck tire blowouts happen is because of trucker mistakes. A truck driver may hit a curb and damage a tire, or they might fail to notice that a tire is losing pressure and might keep driving when the truck needs to be taken off of the highway.
- Improperly Installed Tires: Tires must be properly installed by qualified mechanics. In too many cases, tire professionals make careless mistakes. These errors can make tire blowouts far more likely to occur.
- Inadequate Vehicle Inspections: Semi-truck tires must be inspected on a regular basis. In general, truck tires wear out gradually. This means that tire problems should typically be detected and repaired during inspections.
- Overloaded Trucks: Companies sometimes attempt to overload their trucks in order to save money on shipping. This is very dangerous, as it can lead to truck tires blowing out and many other types of truck accidents.
- Defective Manufacturing: Finally, in some cases, truck tire blowouts are not the fault of the trucking company but are instead the fault of a tire manufacturer. Tire makers have a legal duty to ensure that their products are safe.
Who Can Be Held Responsible for a Tire Blowout Accident?
Under California state law, any party whose negligence contributed to an accident can be held legally liable for their share of the resulting damages. In tractor-trailer tire blowout cases, many different parties can potentially be held responsible for the crash. Some examples of parties that are most frequently found to be at-fault in commercial truck tire blowout cases include the following:
- The truck driver;
- The trucking company;
- The company responsible for truck maintenance; and
- The tire manufacturer.
Ultimately, an immediate and thorough investigation will be required to determine precisely why the tire blowout occurred. These cases can be extremely complex, and sadly, the big trucking companies do not always cooperate with victims. Trucking companies may attempt to try to hold back key information in order to conceal their misconduct. Your Los Angeles truck accident lawyer can take action to get evidence from the truck company, including inspection records, maintenance records and even the vehicle’s black box recording data.
How to Avoid Truck Tire Blowout Crashes
As a motorist, the best thing that you can do to protect yourself and your family is to avoid being in the vicinity of a truck that is at risk of suffering a tire blowout or other type of major tire failure. These trucks are very dangerous. Unfortunately, identifying these problematic vehicles can be challenging, and in some cases downright impossible. You should always keep your eyes open for trucks that look to be having problems. If you see a semi-truck, and the tires look to be worn out, deflated, overly stressed or damaged in any other way, please avoid that truck.
Contact Our California Truck Accident Lawyers Today
At Fisher & Talwar, our semi-truck accident attorneys have extensive experience handling tire blowout crash cases. If you or a family member was injured in a crash due to a truck’s blown tire, we can help you hold the company responsible. To request a free, no-obligation review of your claim, please call us today at (213) 805-7706. From our office in the heart of downtown Los Angeles, we represent victims throughout the region, including in Inglewood, Monterey Park, Pasadena, Glendale and Beverly Hills.