Over the last two decades, highway speed limits have been slowly increasing around the country, particularly in states west of the Mississippi. Some commercial truckers are now legally driving faster than ever. Safety experts say that driving at higher speeds has increased the number of tire-related crashes involving large trucks because the tires are not manufactured to withstand the heat pressure generated at higher speeds. When certain states increased their highway speed limits to an excess of 75 mph, they either ignored warnings by the tire industry regarding truck tire capabilities, or were unaware that such information existed.
According to a study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), truck tires are only designed to drive long-distance at speeds of 75 mph and below. Conversely, passenger vehicles, such as cars and light trucks, are rated for top speeds of 112 mph. Driving faster than a tire’s rated speed can generate excessive heat that damages the rubber, causing tire blowouts. These blowouts can cause fatal truck accidents.
Exterior factors such as load size, tire rim size and misapplication of tires and rims can also result in truck tire failure. In an NHTSA survey conducted in conjunction with the Pennsylvania State Police that analyzed truck tire failures, 50% of commercial truckers had overloaded tires, and 60% of the truckers did not know the tires’ proper inflation pressure.
Tire Failure a Contributing Factor in Truck Accident Fatalities
In a span of five years (2009-2013) the NHTSA recorded slightly more than 14,000 fatal accidents on U.S. road involving crashes of heavy trucks and buses. These accidents resulted in the deaths of more than 15,000 people. Tire failure was determined to be a contributing factor in nearly 200 accidents, and in over 200 of the fatalities.
The ATA has recently called for the federal government to enact regulations that would require electronic speed-limiting devices on large trucks to keep them from causing a speeding accident. ATA spokesman, Sean McNally, claims that over 60% of trucking companies currently use speed limiting devices on their trucking fleets. Moreover, the ATA opposes highway speed limits over 65 mph.
Educating truckers and lawmakers about tire safety and installing speed limiting devices on trucking fleets will help to ensure safer roadways. In terms of new federal regulations, it could be months or years before change is made at the state or federal level. For the victims and families of the increasing number of trucking accident fatalities occurring now across our nation’s roadways, any future safety regulations will have come too late.
Cherry Hill Truck Accident Lawyers at DiTomaso Law Advocate for Clients Who Have Been Injured in Trucking Accidents
If you or a loved has been injured in a New Jersey or Pennsylvania truck accident, you need the knowledge and experience of a savvy Cherry Hill truck accident lawyer who can investigate your accident and protect your rights. Call us at 856-414-0010 or submit an online inquiry today for a complimentary consultation. Our offices are conveniently in Cherry Hill, New Jersey and Center City Philadelphia, to serve all of South Jersey including those in the Cherry Hill area, Mount Holly, Camden County, Burlington County and throughout Southeastern Pennsylvania.