High Texas speed limits can promote truck tire blowouts

Since most truck tires aren’t rated to withstand the speed limits observed in parts of Texas, the risk of blowouts and related crashes may be substantial.

Texas is home to some of the highest speed limits in the U.S., and the state also sees a high volume of heavy truck traffic. As many people in Sugarland know, this combination puts motorists at a heightened risk of experiencing serious or catastrophic truck accidents. At greater travel speeds, trucks are less likely to avoid accidents, and outcomes are more likely to be severe.

Troublingly, this isn't the only way that the state's high speed limits may contribute to accidents. According to a new report, these speed limits may also cause truck tires to blow out, leading to loss of control, rollovers and other serious crashes. For those involved in a truck accident caused by a tire blowout, it's important to seek help immediately and contact the attorneys at Reed & Terry, L.L.P.

A dangerous discrepancy

Fox News reports that truck tires typically are built for slower speeds than vehicles routinely travel in Texas. Most tires are rated to withstand a top speed of 75 mph. While this may have been adequate a decade ago, when state speed limits typically ranged from 65 to 70 mph, today this limit falls short of the speed limits observed in many states. This discrepancy may occur for various reasons, from ignorance on the part of state officials to deliberate decisions to disregard truck tire safety ratings.

This threat was called to attention in March, when the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration completed an investigation into complaints about blowouts. Investigators reviewed 16 cases, three of which led to crashes, and concluded that the tires were not to blame. In each case, the truck driver's travel speed was identified as the most probable cause of the accident.

Officials have suggested a few potential approaches to solving this problem. Speed-limiting devices could be installed in all trucks to ensure that travel speeds never reach levels that promote blowouts. Tire manufacturers could also produce new lines of tires built to withstand higher speeds. Still, until these changes or other protective measures are implemented, many needless accidents involving blowouts may occur.

Elevated accident risk

Unfortunately for drivers in Sugar Land, high ambient temperatures can also increase the risk of blowouts. According to NBC News, as temperatures rise, the air inside tires expands, increasing the internal tire pressure. The combination of high pressure and friction from a fast rate of travel can increase the likelihood of tire failure. This may especially be a problem in Texas during the sweltering summer season.

The Texas Department of Transportation does not report statistics on the annual number of truck accidents that involve tire blowouts. However, state data shows that truck accidents take a heavy toll. In 2014, more than 33,000 known crashes occurred, resulting in the following consequences:

  • Non-incapacitating injuries were reported in 3,169 of these accidents.
  • An additional 1,155 crashes caused incapacitating injuries.
  • Injury victims lost their lives in 508 crashes.

Sadly, many of these injurious or deadly accidents may have involved tire blowouts or other speed-related factors.

When truck drivers cause accidents while traveling at speeds that don't support safe vehicle operation, they may be considered negligent. Victims of accidents that involved speeding, equipment failure or other preventable factors should consider reviewing means of recourse with an attorney. If you or someone you know has been injured as a result of a truck accident, contact the attorneys at Reed & Terry, L.L.P. to discuss your case.

Keywords: truck, accident, injury, tire, blowout