The trucking industry is central to the U.S. economy, transporting over 70% of our food, medicine, housewares, building materials, and other essential items to urban and rural communities. There’s little doubt that we rely on the goods and services available to us only through the thriving freight industry, but with massive vehicles crowding the nation’s roadways and 18 wheels on the majority of them, truck tire blowouts are a significant problem.
We’ve all seen the strips of rubber truck tires littering major highways, and many drivers experience near-misses when a truck in their lane has a blowout. Truck tire blowouts are a significant risk on today’s busy roadways, causing over 12,000 truck accidents each year.
Why Do Truck Tires Blow Out Frequently?
A fully loaded semi-tractor trailer truck weighs around 80,000 pounds—all carried by tires that spend long hours spinning on road surfaces of all types. Compared to car tires, commercial truck tires sustain many more hours of wear and carry very heavy loads for hundreds of miles without stopping. Long hours of spinning on road surfaces cause heat and friction that further erodes the tires’ integrity. Uneven wear on truck tires causes air-pressure bubbles to develop in weak spots that can suddenly explode, causing a blowout.
What Happens After a Truck Tire Blowout?
In most cases, the truck is able to continue onward after a single tire blow out but the force of the exploding tire can throw off the balance of an unwieldy trailer and cause an accident as the trailer jackknifes or tips. The force of a tire blowout may also cause the truck to suddenly veer into other lanes, causing deadly accidents with nearby vehicles. In other instances, a blowout can cause an accident in the following ways:
Shreds of the damaged tire may fly into traffic and impact other vehicles on the road, sometimes causing accidents by hitting windshields or landing in front of cars and causing the driver to swerve
Large tire pieces may damage the undercarriage of low-riding vehicles, including axels which can cause a sudden swerve
Tire blowouts with flying shrapnel and/or a swerving truck can cause other drivers to panic and swerve or brake causing an accident with other vehicles
The sudden jarring motion from a blowout can cause trailer doors to open and spill cargo onto the road, causing an accident
Truck companies have the duty to ensure their trucks are properly maintained, including regular tire inspections and replacements.
Understanding Liability in Truck Accidents
In fault-based accident insurance states like Connecticut, liability in truck accidents can be a complex issue to untangle. When a problem with a truck tire causes a blowout and an accident, it may require an investigation to determine who is liable for damages. Liability could lie with the following:
The trucking company
The truck driver him/herself if they are an independent contractor
A truck maintenance company
A tire company that produced a defective tire
It often takes a truck accident attorney to determine liability by investigating the circumstances of the accident.
Proving Liability After a Tire Blowout Causes a Truck Accident
Proving the at-fault party liable when a damaged tire causes an accident requires demonstrating the following:
That the at-fault party had a duty of care to take reasonable measures to keep others safe on the roadways
That they breached this duty through an act of negligence
That the negligence directly caused injuries
That the injury victims suffered real damages due to the accident including property damage, medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering
If a truck tire blowout caused an accident and you or a loved one experienced injury and property damage, the liable party must compensate you for those damages through their liability insurance.