The remains of tires are a familiar sight on highway shoulders in Texas and around the country. Commercial vehicle tires are designed to cope with heavy loads and function in extreme conditions, but they must be inflated correctly and checked regularly for damage and signs of wear. When these precautions are not taken, the chances of a blowout increase.
Truck accidents caused by blowouts are especially dangerous because tire failures tend to occur at highway speeds and without warning. One such crash took place in New Mexico in August 2018. After experiencing a tire blowout on Interstate 40, a tractor-trailer crossed into the path of oncoming traffic and struck a Greyhound bus head-on. The truck driver left the accident with minor injuries, but the bus driver and six passengers lost their lives.
Thousands of road users are killed or injured each year in similar truck accidents, and the vast majority of them could be prevented by routine maintenance checks and more comprehensive driver training. About 80% of tractor-trailer tire failures are caused by deteriorated casings or treads, and most crashes occur because commercial vehicle drivers do not react correctly. Blowouts cause trucks to pull sharply to the side of the failure, and the instinctive reaction in these situations is to steer in the opposite direction and apply the brakes. Properly trained truck drivers know that this is a mistake and will only make matters worse. The correct response is to provide only enough steering input to maintain a straight line while applying full throttle.
When their clients are injured in an accident caused by a tractor-trailer, experienced personal injury attorneys may have the truck’s safety systems inspected for indications of wear, neglected maintenance and substandard repairs. Attorneys might also study police reports to determine whether the commercial vehicle driver involved was trained to deal with the situation. The evidence gathered may then be used to establish negligence in court or encourage trucking companies or their insurance providers to settle injury claims at the negotiating table.