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Texas speed limits are too high for most semi truck tires

A recent investigation by the Associated Press contains some alarming news for Texas motorists. The reporters found that although tires on most tractor-trailer trucks are not designed for safe use above 75 mph, in recent years 14 states have increased truck speed limits on rural interstates to 75 mph or higher.

The federal government gave states sole authority to set their own speed limits in the mid-1990s. Texas is one of the states that has raised truck speed limits on some roads to 75 mph or more. In parts of the state the speed limit for semi trucks is 85 mph, the highest speed limit for trucks in the country.

Safety advocates and tire manufacturers agree that if any tire is driven faster than its safe speed rating it can overheat and blow out. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, so far no fatal truck accidents have been attributed to tires being driven over 75 mph. The NHTSA doesn't want to wait for a fatal accident to take action, however, and is pushing for the adoption of devices that limit trucks' speed to 75 mph. That proposal is supported by a coalition of trucking industry groups.

When someone is injured in a semi truck accident caused by a tire blowout, one of the first issues to look at should be the speed rating of the tire and the speed the truck was traveling before the collision. Just because a state speed limit is set at 80 or 85 mph doesn't mean a driver has to go that speed. Truck companies and drivers should be aware of the speed rating of their tires, and driving in excess of that rating is negligence.

Source: The State, "Safety chief wants to cap big rig speeds to fix tire problem," Meghan Barr & Tom Krisher, April 9, 2015

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