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Drivers in Louisiana May Be at Risk for Truck Tire Blowouts and Crashes

Many people in Baton Rouge regularly share the roads with large trucks without giving much thought to the possibility of accidents. Unfortunately, when these vehicles experience equipment issues that cause drivers to lose control, the results can be catastrophic. Troublingly, recent reports suggest that the risk of one common issue, tire blowouts, may be especially high for drivers in Louisiana.

Unsafe Speeds

CBS News states that no large truck tires are rated to handle speeds greater than 81 mph. Most of these tires are not even rated to safely exceed 75 mph. When trucks regularly travel above these speeds, the risk of blowouts and associated large truck crashes increases significantly.

According to The Dallas Morning News, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently looked into 16 complaints about Michelin truck tire blowouts. The investigators concluded that issues with the tires were probably not directly responsible for any of the blowouts. Instead, the blowouts most likely occurred because the truck drivers exceeded the 75 mph tire rating.

Unfortunately, in Louisiana, trucks are legally permitted to reach speeds of 75 mph on rural interstates. When truckers exceed this speed limit, the risk of accidents may increase sharply.

Preventing Blowouts

Safety advocates and trucking industry representatives have pointed to a few potential solutions to this issue. According to CBS News and Dallas Morning News, these measures include:

  • Reducing state truck speed limits to reflect the risks of higher-speed travel. Some industry experts recommend that large trucks travel no faster than 65 mph.
  • Producing truck tires that are rated to withstand the speeds currently permitted in various parts of the country. Although this approach would likely be effective, it is less likely to be implemented due to concerns about demand for such tires.
  • Installing speed-limiting devices that prevent trucks from reaching potentially dangerous speeds. About 70 percent of trucking companies already employ these electronic devices, but more widespread use could yield greater safety benefits.

The approaches that involve restricting truck travel speeds might also help reduce severe truck crashes. Still, it could take months or even years for any of these measures to be implemented.

Catastrophic Accidents

Causing tire blowouts is not the only way that high speed limits put drivers in danger of serious truck accidents. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, vehicles traveling at higher speeds require more stopping distance. Trucks already need greater stopping distance than other vehicles, which makes high-speed travel more dangerous for these vehicles.

Additionally, higher truck speed limits open the door to accidents that involve more severe outcomes. The amount of energy that must be released during a motor vehicle crash depends on each vehicle's speed and weight. As crash energy increases, the risk of vehicle damage and injuries also rises.

Due to their weight, trucks already bring a large amount of energy into crashes. Excessive travel speeds further increase this energy, leaving other motorists in danger of serious or fatal injuries.

Legal Remedies

Recourse may be available to people who have sustained injuries because a truck driver was traveling at unsafe speeds or otherwise acting recklessly. However, establishing the exact cause of a large truck accident can be difficult. Considering this, injury victims may benefit from partnering with a truck accident attorney to document the accident and pursue appropriate compensation.

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The Law Offices of Ossie Brown
123 Saint Ferdinand Street
Baton Rouge, LA 70802

Phone: 225-424-7388
Fax: 225-334-7824
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