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How the Government Prevents Truck Accidents Caused by Poor Tire Maintenance

Posted On August 3, 2016 In Truck Accidents

Poorly maintained truck tires put other motorists in dangerIf you read our blog last week, you learned about how Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) load regulations prevent truck accidents. There are many other FMCSA regulations that keep us safe. For example, FMCSA regulations require commercial carriers to use safe equipment. Today we are going to focus on the importance of maintenance and using safe tires. We are also going to briefly describe types of truck accidents caused by poor tire maintenance. Keep in mind, that while we are discussing commercial trucks, the following regulations also apply to other commercial vehicles.

Equipment on commercial trucks experience wear and tear, especially tires. FMCSA regulation § 393.75 requires that commercial trucks must never operate on tires that meet the following criteria.

  • Trucks cannot operate on tires that have ply or belt material exposed (either through the sidewall or tread). This includes cuts large enough to expose ply or belt material.
  • Tires with tread or sidewall separation are not safe for use. To put this into layman’s terms, tires experiencing tread or sidewall separation are starting to fall apart.
  • Trucks cannot operate on flat tires. In addition, trucks cannot use tires with audible leaks.
  • Tread depth on tires must meet certain standards. Steering tires (located in the front) must have a minimum tread depth of 4/32 of an inch. Other wheels located on trucks must have a minimum tread depth of 2/32 of an inch.
  • Trucks must use tires that can operate within the weight limit listed on the sidewall. There are rare exceptions to this rule.
  • Trucks cannot operate with cold tire inflation pressures less than what is specified on the sidewall for specific loads.

Truck tires can break down due to poor maintenance practices. For example, regular inspections should catch tires with poor tread depth or deep cuts that expose the sidewall or tread. If commercial carriers allow unsafe tires to be used, other motorists pay the price.

What You Should Know About Truck Accidents and Poor Tire Maintenance

There are several types of accidents that can occur when truckers and commercial carriers neglect maintenance and operate on unsafe tires.

Blowout accidents: Blowout accidents occur when tires rapidly and explosively lose pressure. When blowouts occur, truckers can lose control of their vehicles. Trucks can also roll over after experiencing tire blowouts. When tires are incorrectly installed (such as installing tires that cannot handle specific weight loads) or have poor tread depth, blowout accidents can occur. For the most part, blowout accidents are preventable with routine maintenance.

Weather-related accidents: The same rules for tires that apply to passenger vehicles also apply to commercial trucks. Trucks with shallow tread depth cannot safely operate in severe weather or on slick roads. Tread depth helps truck tires grip icy or wet roads so truckers do not lose control.

Rear-end accidents: Trucks operating on poor tires may require more room to brake and avoid collisions. This is especially true during adverse weather conditions.

Although the FMCSA has stipulated tire use and maintenance rules, many commercial carriers fail to keep tires on their trucks maintained. Some commercial carriers do not want to replace tires or hire people to perform maintenance.

We hate to be the bearer of bad news, but there are many other pieces of equipment on trucks that require routine maintenance. Much like tires, commercial carriers may neglect to maintain these pieces of equipment. Expect future blog updates discussing how our attorneys can determine when truck accidents have been caused by poor maintenance practices.

The Texas truck accident attorneys at Mike Love & Associates, LLC will hold negligent commercial carriers accountable for crashes.

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