Road safety advocates place a great deal of emphasis on the dangers of texting and driving - and for good reason. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), roughly 3,450 traffic fatalities in 2016 were caused by distracted driving. Smartphone use is only one piece of the puzzle. Additional NHTSA data shows that traffic fatalities involving cellphone-distraction have never surpassed 500 per year.
Fatal accidents involving defective tires, on the other hand, amounted to 738 deaths in 2017. Unfortunately, tire safety is often overlooked. Some drivers even ignore their tires altogether - until it's too late.
It only takes a tire blowout or loss of traction to cause a vehicle to careen out of control. In order to mitigate the risk, tires should be rotated every 5,000 to 8,000 miles and checked annually for wear and tear.
Most common tire defects
According to tires-easy.com, common tire defects that can contribute to a crash include:
- Under-inflation: When tires lack adequate air pressure, they are more likely to flex in the sidewall, causing them to heat up excessively. This risk is doubled during hot weather or while traveling at high speeds. Over time, the sidewall begins to break down, which can lead to tread separation or a rupture. According to NHTSA statistics, about one in four drivers have at least one tire that is underinflated. Only 19 percent of drivers check and inflate their tires regularly.
- Irregular wear: When a tire shows signs of wear on one side, while appearing in good condition on the other side, a wheel misalignment may be the culprit. This can cause a loss of traction on the contact surface of the tire and can be particularly dangerous in wet or slick road conditions.
- Roadway hazards: Even for brand new tires, roadway hazards can cause problems for drivers. For example, hitting a pot hole at a high speed can cause the sidewall to compress and crack or form a bulge due to the impact. Other hazards in the roadway, such as nails and small debris, can cause tire punctures.
Bringing awareness to an underestimated risk
We are in no way attempting to downplay the dangers of cellphone use behind the wheel. Instead, we seek to raise awareness of this often-underestimated roadway risk. There is no better time than now to alert Massachusetts road users to pay closer attention to their tires.
Now that this winter season is winding down, we will see an increase in potholes until they are repaired by road crews. Historically, Springfield and Boston have ranked poorly when it comes to road conditions - with potholes being one of the contributing factors.
In addition, spring in New England brings an influx of wet road surfaces and large puddles. This puts drivers with worn out tires at risk of skidding or hydroplaning.
In the event you or a loved one is injured in a crash caused by a tire defect, an experienced Massachusetts auto accident attorney can help you build a solid personal injury claim, though finding out where negligence occurred may take some digging.
Responsible parties may include:
- A driver who failed to replace worn-out tires or continued driving after failing a vehicle inspection.
- A mechanic who may have applied an inadequate amount of air pressure into a tire.
- A tire manufacturer or distributor if a new tire was defective.
- A municipality for failing to clear a dangerous road defect.
The legal team at the Law Offices of Mark E. Salomone will assess the details pertaining to your auto accident and go over your legal options. Any evidence we extract through an in-depth investigation can be used to hold the negligent party accountable and recover financial losses. Contact us today to get started.