Jones & Swanson

NTSB Tire Safety Investigation

In past blog posts and mailed newsletters, we have discussed the dangers that tires can pose if not regularly maintained. Weather, road, and other conditions can have a tremendous effect on the lifespan and safety of a tire. Because this is the only part of your vehicle separating yourself and the roadway, it is important that we use caution in regards to tire safety. Even the slightest pot hole or item being run over by a tire can lead to tread separation or a blowout.

In May, the National Traffic Safety Board announced the commencement of an investigation specializing in the area of tire safety. This study was prompted after crashes that occurred in February were said to have been caused by tire failure. It’s all too often that we hear about a vehicle’s tires ceasing to function correctly, causing wrecks that take innocent lives. Perhaps the most common crashes as a result of tire failure occur in SUVs because they are prone to rollovers as a result of tire failure. The specific focus of the NTSB’s investigation on tires will be whether or not there’s a specific age at which a tire becomes unreliable. The numbers support this suggestion: of the 400 annual deaths related to tire failure, over half were found to have been caused by the tire’s high age.

Perhaps the solution to this issue is to require tire inspections after so many years of life. Unfortunately, select companies and associations do not support this proposal, even though most dealers and service centers recommend replacing tires after six to ten years of use. Perhaps this investigation by the NTSB will reveal a greater insight to the issues of aged tire dangers.

In addition to aging, there are a variety of potentially faulty tire issues that could result in an accident. In an effort to make tires last safely as long as possible, you should have them balanced, aligned, and rotated according to the schedule within your owner’s manual. Check your tire pressure after drastic weather changes or after hitting potholes in Georgia roadways. Driving with low tire pressure can be very dangerous. When you get a new set of tires, take a good look at how they appear. As the months or years pass, it is helpful to regularly study the tread and made sure that it is not wearing in an odd manner or unevenly (compared to when first installed). It is helpful to register your tires with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, as they will send email alerts to notify you of safety issues or recalls that affect your specific set of tires.

As car wreck lawyers, we see numerous causes of auto accidents every day. Unfortunately, tire defects are not an unusual cause of a crash. In the event that a tire separation or blowout caused an injury to you or loved ones in a crash, the manufacturer or installer may be held liable. For more information on your legal rights, contact our law firm today at (770) 427-5498.

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