Big Rig Tires at Greater Risk of Damage and Accident at High Speeds
Accidents caused by big rig truck tires are on the rise. Of the 14,000 fatal accidents tied to big rigs, tractor trailer trucks, and buses occurring between 2009 and 2013, ultimately causing some 16,000 fatalities, 198 crashes and 223 fatalities involved the failure of big rig truck tires.
A recent investigative report uncovered that nearly all semi truck tires are not designed to function and remain safe above 75 mph. Driving over this speed in an 18-wheeler can generate excessive amounts of heat that can damage the tire’s rubber and lead to possible tire destruction. As a result of this danger, leaders of the American Trucking Association are petitioning the US Department of Transportation to mandate the installation of electronic speed-limiting devices capping the top speed of tractor-trailers and big rigs at 65 mph. Presently, about 70% of all heavy-duty trucking companies have speed limiting devices installed on their vehicles. This means that around 30% of all big rigs on the road are currently capable of travelling at a speed greater than they were designed to handle, posing a serious threat to the truck driver and others on the road.
Despite the danger caused by trucks traveling at over 75 mph, there are 14 states where speed limits are 75 mph or even higher; moreover, in some areas in four of those states, speed limits are as high as 80 mph or more. In three states, speed limits for big rig trucks in particular are set at 80 mph or above, and other states are currently deciding whether to raise their speed limits in the near future. Although states have the authority to establish speed limits for tractor-trailers and other vehicles traveling on their roads, most do not consult tire manufacturers or trucking groups about truck and tire limitations and safe speed limits. Most big rig tires are rated to be safe only up to a maximum of 75 miles per hour; currently no heavy truck tire is rated for travel in excess of 81 mph.
Large trucks and big rigs can be a dangerous presence on the road. If you’ve been injured in a truck accident, consult experienced legal professionals to help you through the process of being fully compensated for your injuries. Contact the Bayless Law Firm, PLLC, for a free consultation on your injury case in southern West Virginia. Call toll free (800) 359-2356 or (304) 487-8707 in the Princeton area.