Report: Truck speeds in Texas often exceed what tires can safely handle

On Behalf of | Oct 3, 2014 | Articles, Truck Accidents |

Truck tires aren’t designed for speeds over 75 mph, so in states with higher speed limits, the risk of tire blowouts and related accidents may be high.

Texas is known for offering motorists some of the highest speed limits in the country. Unfortunately, these fast travel speeds may put people in San Antonio at a greater risk of experiencing accidents. A recent report suggests that truck accidents may be a particular risk.

According to The Austin-American Statesman, many Texas speed limits exceed the speed that truck tires are designed to handle. Consequently, even if truckers aren’t driving too fast for the road or weather conditions, they face a risk of blowouts. These blowouts may contribute to many serious or even catastrophic accidents.

Excessive speeds

Truck tires currently are not built to withstand speeds above 75 mph. This tire design reflects the national speed limits that were observed in most states just a decade ago. Unfortunately, in Texas and 13 other states, speed limits now frequently exceed 75 mph.

In some of these areas, lawmakers raised speed limits despite knowing that truck tires weren’t rated to withstand those speeds. In other areas, lawmakers did not realize they were creating safety hazards. In Texas, the legislator who supported the 85 mph speed limit on I-30 reportedly was unaware of the tire safety ratings.

Recently, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration investigated 16 truck tire blowouts, three of which resulted in crashes. Investigators determined that travel speeds exceeding the tire safety rating were the most probable cause of all of the blowouts. As a result, the truck drivers, rather than the tire producer, were considered responsible for the resulting accidents.

Potential solutions

According to KXAN News, many trucking companies take steps to prevent their drivers from traveling at unsafe speeds. For example, company policies often limit drivers to traveling at speeds that fall below local posted speed limits. Still, it’s not unheard of for drivers to occasionally violate policies. This truck driver negligence can have deadly consequences.

Various additional measures could reduce the risk of tire-related truck accidents. The use of speed limiters can prevent truckers from exceeding preset speeds. Many companies already use these devices to minimize fuel waste and tire wear. The production of tires that support higher travel speeds could also prevent accidents. However, manufacturers have worried that there would not be an adequate market for such tires.

Unfortunately, this may leave Texas drivers at a significant risk for truck accidents involving blowouts or excessive speed. If statistics are any indicator, these accidents may have catastrophic consequences. According to the Texas Department of Transportation, in 2013 alone, trucks played a role in 359 fatal Texas crashes.

Driver liability

When poor practices or reckless behaviors contribute to truck accidents, victims may have legal recourse. Truck drivers who cause accidents while traveling at excessive speeds may be considered negligent and liable for associated injuries. To better understand their rights and options, accident victims should consider consulting with a personal injury attorney.