Our Arkansas truck accident attorneys know that nearly all big-rig tires are built to sustain a maximum speed of 75 mph, however 14 states nationwide now have speed limits of 75, 80 or 85 mph. Most of those states made those speed limits without consulting truck tire saftey and the potential accident risk.
Research shows that if a driver drives faster than the tire’s intended speed, excessive heat will damage the rubber resulting in tire blowouts. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were over 14,000 fatal crashes in the U.S. between 2009 and 2013 involving heavy trucks and buses. Tires were the cause of 198 of those crashes, which resulted in 23 deaths.
The strange disconnect between highway speed limits and safety standards was discovered in a government document found by the Associated Press that detailed an investigation into truck tire failures.
The investigation into Michelin tires started last October after receiving multiple complaints from auto-hauling companies.
Last month the investigation into Michelin tire blowouts was closed. The NHTSA determined that it was the truck operators who were at fault and not the tires.
Highway officials in three states that allow trucks to go 80 mph were questioned by the AP. They either wouldn’t answer the questions or they stated that they were unaware of the safety ratings.
The American Trucking Associations says that it opposes truck speed limits over 65 mph. They have petitioned the government to require speed-limiting devices on trucks.
It is hard to say what the exact cause of every truck tire blowout is. Road debris, under inflation, heavy loads, and high speeds could all be distributing factors. This is one of the reasons why, for now, the states set their own speed limits. But the federal government does have the authority to raise tire standards.
A possible solution to this problem is for manufacturers to make tires that can handle higher speeds. But manufacturers are hesitant to produce more of these tires because they fear sales won’t be grand enough to justify the cost of producing them.
Luckily, this tire problem does not affect ordinary car tires. The government requires car and small truck tires to be designed for well above highway speed limits.
If you’re in the Little Rock, Arkansas area and need an experienced truck accident attorney, please contact The Law Offices of Alan LeVar online or call (888) 220-7068 today for a free consultation.