Tractor-Trailer Truck Tire Tread On Georgia Highways Is A Growing Problem

Georgia injury lawyers have seen many serious automobile accidents, tractor-trailer accidents and motorcycle accidents caused by foreign objects and road debris on Georgia highways. Just a few weeks ago a 19 year old girl was killed in Tifton, Georgia when she collided with a tractor-trailer. Both vehicles were heading south on Interstate 75 when the girl swerved to avoid a piece of retread rubber in the roadway. After running off the roadway, she apparently over-corrected, came back onto the roadway and struck the tractor-trailer rig. This death should not have happened. Recently I got a call from the mother of the girl and we discussed the growing problem of road debris and in particular, large pieces of tractor trailer truck tire tread littering our highways. There are ever increasing numbers of these accidents which are claiming the lives of many motorists.
The National Transportation Highway Safety Administration commissioned a study entitled “Commercial Medium Tire Debris Study”. The study objectives were to:
1. Investigate the underlying causes of tire failures in heavy- and medium-duty trucks through an analysis of tire debris samples collected on interstate highways in five regions of the United States;
2. Determine the extent of truck tire failures for retread tires; and
3. Determine the crash safety problem associated with tire failures for large trucks.
At the end of the study the “Overall Study Conclusions” were as follows:
“The analysis of tire fragments and casings collected in this study has found that the proportion of tire debris from retread tires and OE tires is similar to the estimated proportion of retread and OE tires in service. Indeed, the OE versus retread proportions of the collected tire debris broadly correlated with accepted industry expectations. Additionally, there was no evidence to suggest that the proportion of tire fragments/shreds from retread tires was over-represented in the debris items collected. Examination of tire fragments and tire casings (where the OE or retread status was known) found that road hazard was the most common cause of tire failure, at 38 percent and 36 percent respectively. The analysis of tire casings found maintenance and operational issues accounted for 32 percent of the failures while over-defection accounted for 16 percent. Analysis of tire fragments found that excessive heat was evident in 30 percent of the samples examined. These results suggest that the majority of tire debris found on the Nation’s highways is not a result of manufacturing/process deficiencies. Similar findings are corroborated in earlier studies of tire debris. The evaluation of available crash data shows that vehicle crashes related to truck tire failure and truck tire debris are very rare events that account for less than 1 percent of traffic crash involvements.”
Whether recapped or retreaded truck tires are safe is debatable; however, it is an undeniable fact that tractor-trailer tire debris on or nation’s highway is increasing and it poses a very significant risk to motorists. Whether truck tire failure is caused by manufacturing defects or simply a drivers failure to keep the tires properly inflated, the negligent parties need to be held accountable, if they can be identified.

If you or a loved one have been injured as a result of a motor vehicle accident caused by a foreign object or debris in the roadway, call the Georgia injury lawyers at Finch McCranie, LLP for a free consultation.

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