Tire blowouts are responsible for more deaths than most people think. According to safetyresearch.net, there has been some misrepresentation in reporting deaths. In the past, reports nationwide varied, generally using a lower figure that ranged from 200 to 400 deaths. The actual numbers are higher.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported 733 deaths in 2016 after Randy Whitfield of Quality Control Systems Corporation reported that a system analysis revealed that the statistics routinely eliminated including the deaths caused by worn and aging tires.
The analysis led to several changes in reporting and greater scrutiny of NHTSA’s tire-related death counts. The agency had reported 200 tire-related deaths in 2016 before admitting that 733 deaths was a more accurate estimate.
Tire Safety Is Often Overlooked
The NHTSA defended the discrepancy by suggesting that texting was the likely cause of many of those deaths, but aged tires with bald spots were clearly contributing factors. Tire safety is a big issue, and even highly experienced drivers often fail to check their tires regularly.
The car’s owner or a separate driver can both be held liable for operating unsafe equipment in some states. Property damage and injuries caused by unsafe tires are overwhelming.
Visual inspections can reveal worn tread and bald spots. Both underinflated and overinflated tires contribute to tire blowouts. Some aspects of tire maintenance are best performed by professionals, such as balancing, but there are simple tips to check the condition of tires before operating any vehicle.
The NHTSA is now reporting the higher figure, and deaths related to tire blowouts average more than 730 annually. The following tips can protect drivers, passengers and pedestrians from preventable accidents by identifying conditions and problems related to tire safety:
- Choose the Right Tire: Tire recommendations are often ignored by bargain hunters who buy any tire that’s on sale. Buy tires based on vehicle and weather recommendations. All-season tires are recommended for general driving in all types of weather. Winter tires are designed for snow and ice are recommended for areas that receive lots of snow. All-terrain tires are recommended for four-wheel-drive vehicles.
- Check Tire Ratings: Tires are rated by the U.S. government on temperature resistance, traction performance, and tread wear. Check the Uniform Tire Quality Grading Standards before buying a new set of tires.
- Check Regularly for Recalls: Drivers can check for tire recalls at the NHTSA tire recall website.
- Visually Check Tires: Drivers should check tires visually before operating any motor vehicle. Look for signs of underinflation, bald spots, nails, and overinflation.
- Check Tire Pressure Regularly: Try to keep tires inflated to the recommended pressure. This will extend the life of tires and maximize safe vehicle operation. It’s best to check tire pressure in the morning when they’re cool.
- Rotate Tires: Tires should be rotated regularly so that the wear pattern balances. Consider monthly rotation for heaving driving and quarterly rotation for moderate driving. Tires should be rotated before a long trip.
- Check Tire Tread Depth: Checking the depth of tire tread regularly ensures good traction in all kinds of weather. Tread plays an important role in car handling on wet or icy roads.
- Place New Tires on the Rear of the Vehicle: It doesn’t matter if a vehicle has front-, rear- or all-wheel-drive. New tires with fresh tread should be placed on the rear axle for better traction and handling.
Seeing An Attorney
When involved in an accident, the first step is consulting an attorney regardless of who’s liable. There can be extenuating circumstances. The price for a car accident lawyer is worth the return, and many lawyers operate on a contingency basis in accident cases.