A new investigation into truck tire rollover accident finds that speeding is a major contributor to rollover rates. Big rig tires are designed for a maximum speed of 75 mph. However, as the number of states across the country has moved to increase the limits for trucks on their highways, the number of rollover accidents involving these rigs has also increased.
It is only now that researchers are making the connection between the higher speed limits, allowed by certain states, and the higher risk of rollovers in these states.
In Indiana, the speed limits for trucks are 55 mph on rural interstate highways, and 55 mph on urban interstate highways. Those are reasonable speed limits, and are within the range that tires are designed for. Most tires are only equipped to handle speeds of up to 75 mph. Those designs were adequate to prevent accidents up until the middle of the last decade, when many states began increasing speed limits on trucks on their highways.
At least 14 states now have limits of or above 75 mph. The state of Texas has some highways that have limits of 85 mph. Some states have a speed limit of 80 mph. In many of these cases, states moved to enact these high speed limit limits without bothering to consult the tire industry, and without attempting to understand the long-term effects of these increases on the tires.
While there was some concern about the effect of higher speed limits on other vehicles on the roadway, especially the increased risk of accidents involving speeding trucks, the effect on tire safety was virtually ignored. That neglect has resulted in consequences.
Researchers at the Associated Press accessed government documents on tire failure investigations, and found that Michelin tire blowouts were being blamed on the truck tires. One of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration investigators reported that speeds exceeding 75 mph were the most probable cause in all 16 tire blowout complaints that were examined.
There has been an increase in the number of rollover accidents involving commercial trucks over the past few years, and researchers believe that the increase has something to do with the increased truck speeds. In 2013, there were a total of 52 truck tire-related fatalities in the United States, an increase from 40 fatalities in 2009.
The Indiana trucking accident lawyers at Montross Miller Muller Mendelson Kennedy are dedicated to the representation of injured victims of trucking accidents across Indiana.