Commercial truck tires are a major expense for trucking companies or owner-operators. Truck tires are designed to take a tremendous amount of punishment on the road over long hauls and under great stress. Eventually, though, tires do require maintenance and replacement, or the risk of tire failure rises.
One way that some companies try to save money is by using retreaded tires. But an improperly retreaded tire can cause an extremely dangerous blowout, causing chaos on the highways—and even costing lives. Here are some facts about retread and other tire blowout accidents, and how to get legal help if you’re involved in an accident caused by a blown truck tire.
What Is a Retreaded Tire?
Retreads are almost unheard of in passenger vehicles, but are relatively common as a cost-saving measure in the commercial trucking industry. Sometimes called a “remold” or “recap,” retreading is a form of tire remanufacturing. The tread of a tire is usually the first part of the tire to wear out, but the body of the tire may still be serviceable. Retreading allows the body of the tire to be recycled, by removing the worn tread and replacing it with new material.
The tire industry insists that retreads are just as safe as new tires. However, if the tire isn’t properly inspected before it goes through the retread process, or if the job isn’t done right, it can lead to catastrophic failure of the tire, causing massive damage.
To help prevent fatal accidents, the State of Texas regulates when and where retreaded tires may be used. For instance, retreads may not be used on the front tires of any bus.
Regrooved tires, in which the rubber tread has been carved out to restore a worn tire groove, are prohibited from the front tires of buses, as well. Regrooved tires are also prohibited on any truck or truck tractor with a carrying capacity of 4,920 pounds or more, but retreaded tires are not prohibited.
How Truck Tires Fail
Tread detachment is one of the most common methods of failure for truck tires. Tread detachment can be caused by many factors, including some of the following:
- Poor tire repairs
- Lack of routine tire maintenance
- Under-inflation or other tire pressure problems
- Improper tire mounting
- Impact damage from potholes, curbs, or other road hazards
- Improper or flawed retreading
Older tires are more prone to failure as well. Dry rot, rusty tread cables, and tread separation can all lead to blowouts. Truck drivers and truck companies are legally required to thoroughly inspect their vehicles before driving, but if the driver is lax and doesn’t regularly inspect and replace worn tires, he or she could be held legally liable for any accidents that happen as a result.
Consequences of Failed Commercial Truck Tires
A tire blowout in an average two-ton (4,000 pounds) passenger car is a serious road hazard that can cause major accidents. The maximum weight of a commercial truck with a fully loaded trailer can be as much as 80,000 pounds, making the risks of damage or injury in an accident just that much worse.
A tire blowout on a truck may cause the driver to lose control of the truck, crushing other vehicles in its path. The truck may even be knocked off-balance, causing a rollover accident. Even if the driver does maintain control, the blowout can happen with violent force, sending debris flying across the roadway, which can strike other vehicles and cause those drivers to lose control. It can also leave dangerous rubber debris scattered across the roadway, causing accidents and injuries to unsuspecting motorists who don’t have time to react at highway speeds.
Get Legal Help After a Truck Tire Blowout Accident
If you’re involved in an accident caused by a commercial truck tire blowout, you should seek help from an attorney. Commercial truck accidents can be legally complicated due to complex transportation regulations, multiple insurance companies, and the many parties that may be responsible for the accident. Drivers, trucking companies, maintenance crew, and truck manufacturers may all have played a part in your wreck. An attorney with experience handling these types of accidents will be able to help you find the responsible party so that you can seek the compensation that you’re owed after the accident.
When you’re ready to talk to a Texas commercial truck accident attorney, Wayne Wright LLP would like to hear from you. Call us by phone, use the live chat box, or click the contact form to email us and arrange a free, no-obligation consultation about your right to compensation today.