Failure to Check Tires Causes Wrecks in Hot Weather, South Carolina Trucking Accident Attorney Says

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High temperatures and poorly maintained tires among truck drivers do not mix, cautions Columbia personal injury lawyer Bert Louthian.

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Bert Louthian

Tires are engineered to support the high amount of friction that occurs when trucks are traveling at high speeds. But couple that with very high outdoor temperatures, and you’ve got a serious safety hazard on your hands.

Six out of 10 motorists wash their cars at least once per month, but only one in seven properly checks their tire pressure, a recent survey by the Rubber Manufacturers Association reports.

And as the summer days turn into scorchers, that lack of tire care can be deadly, especially when large commercial motor vehicles are involved, says South Carolina personal injury attorney Bert Louthian.

“Excessive heat is a key trigger for tire failures,” says Louthian, whose South Carolina personal injury law firm also handles wrongful death and product liability lawsuits.

“Tires are engineered to support the high amount of friction that occurs when trucks are traveling at high speeds. But couple that with very high outdoor temperatures, and you’ve got a serious safety hazard on your hands.”

That’s because hot weather can cause truck tires to heat up beyond their design specifications, Louthian explains. Also, trucks carrying loads exceeding their approved weight limit or whose tires are underinflated can lead to fatal blowouts, the South Carolina truck accident lawyer says.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 3,400 people were killed in tire-related crashes in the United States between 2005 and 2009. An additional 116,000 were injured in wrecks caused by tire problems.

While some blowouts are nobody’s fault, others occur due to negligence on the part of tractor-trailer drivers or the truck companies that employ them. As they dig out from the recession, truck companies may pay less attention to tire maintenance to reduce costs.

“The massive size of these trucks, 18-wheelers and big rigs makes it even more important that truck drivers do simple things like check tire pressure,” Louthian says. “Their trucks can be as much as 20 times larger than the average car on the highways with them.”

Tire manufacturers may also shoulder the blame for crashes that kill, Louthian says.

“If truck tires fail to meet the design standards required by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration’s testing requirements, manufacturers could have a lawsuit on their hands,” the South Carolina defective product attorney warns.

Louthian applauds the efforts of tire manufacturers and companies who actively encourage tire safety.

During last week’s National Tire Safety Week, truck carriers and other tire manufacturers held special events to promote tire safety. One carrier, Schneider International, announced that it would award $10,000 in prizes to its truck drivers and staff who demonstrate knowledge of proper tire maintenance and monitoring.

“It’s these types of efforts that will hopefully make a difference in the degree of attention that members of the trucking industry pay to the equipment they operate,” Louthian says.

However, until that time, victims and families who have been injured in serious trucking accidents need to be aware of their legal rights, the South Carolina personal injury lawyer says.

Although hiring a lawyer might be the last thing on their minds, there are time-sensitive questions that may need answering when it comes to statutes of limitations, preserving evidence and notifying insurance companies, he says.

“Those are questions that attorneys can worry about while victims and families work on recovering from their injuries,” Louthian says.

About The Louthian Law Firm
The Louthian Law Firm, P.A., of Columbia, S.C., has been obtaining fair compensation for personal injury victims since 1959. The firm was founded by Herbert Louthian, who has more than 50 years of trial experience and is licensed to practice in all courts in South Carolina. The Louthian Law Firm focuses on personal injury cases involving medical malpractice; car, truck and motorcycle accidents; and other serious and catastrophic injuries throughout South Carolina. For a free, confidential case evaluation, contact the firm by phone at (866) 410-5656 or through its online form.

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