Reports about tire malfunctions causing serious and sometimes fatal accidents pepper Internet news sites and nightly news channels. It wasn’t that long ago when hundreds of people were killed or injured due to a defect in Firestone tires used on Ford Explorers. Although a massive recall effort attempted to mitigate that problem, accidents caused by defective tires continue to plague our highways.
Earlier this year, in our home state of Georgia, a 15-passenger van overturned injuring 13 and killing two people on their way to work. A tour bus operating in New York on its way to Niagara Falls crashed, killing two people and injuring 15. In both cases, tire failures are the suspected cause.
Tire Safety And Warning Signs
While it is too early in the investigation to know if these accidents were the result of manufacturing defects, as drivers it is important to check the overall condition of your tires regularly. A manufacturing defect may be undetectable to the average driver, however steps can be taken to reduce the chances of a blowout and subsequent accidents. Proper inflation will ensure even wear on the tires and good traction on wet roads. The vehicle’s user manual or the side of the tire itself will specify proper inflation levels. Cracks in the rubber or chunks missing from the tread should be cause for alarm, and the tire should be replaced. Also, remember that tires are affected by the weight of the vehicle; a full 15-passenger van could be carrying an extra several thousand pounds of passenger weight, changing vehicle handling and tire inflation requirements.
Manufacturing Defects – More Than Meets The Eye
Proper tire maintenance is important because tire defects are not always obvious until it is too late. If the problem is a manufacturing defect, it may never be discovered until after the tire is destroyed in an accident, especially in cases where the tire’s rubber is mixed improperly. Excessive amounts of water in a tire’s rubber have been shown to cause a tire failure. As the tire rides on the road, friction causes it to heat up. During a long trip or travel at highway speeds, excess water in the tire will begin to boil, which can separate the tread from the tire and cause a blowout.
Now would be a good time to check your tires for damage and inflation levels. If you’re concerned about your brand and model of tire, the NHTSA maintains an online database where you can search for specific recalls and other warnings.
Contact us if you or a loved one have been in an auto accident and think a defective tire may have caused been the cause. Our attorneys specialize in auto accident cases and defective product laws, such as those covering faulty tires. We offer a free consultation to review the details of your case to help you get the compensation you deserve.