Truck Tire Blowouts - Who Is Responsible and Who Can Help - Robert armstrong personal injury attorney north carolina

One of the most frightening experiences for a driver on the highway is witnessing a semi truck blowing out a tire. Aside from the sudden gun shot-like bang, the 40 ton truck may start to swerve across the road causing serious injury and damage to vehicles in its path.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association, more than 78,000 crashes including 400 deaths occur each year due to flat tires or blowouts. If you find yourself included in these statistics, it’s important to understand who is responsible and who can help you. This article will help answer these questions.

What is a tire blowout?

A truck tire “blowout” typically refers to the instance when a tire suddenly bursts and rapidly loses pressure. As the pressure quickly decreases, the truck becomes off balance causing the driver to compensate and often lose control of the vehicle. While most people expect these blowouts to happen when there is too much pressure in the tire (think of overinflating a balloon, for example), it’s actually the opposite.

When a large tire such as those on a semi truck has low tire pressure, the rubber, steel and fabric that make up the tire begin to flex. Under the intense forces of highway driving, these components continue to flex until they can no longer withstand the stress and break, causing the tire to explode, or blowout. As you may expect, the stress put on an underinflated tire increases as the temperature on the highway intensifies. Accordingly, many safety experts refer to the summer months as “tire blowout season”.

 

What are common causes?

As the tire blowout rate on semi trucks continue to increase on highways across the country, knowing the common causes of these potentially catastrophic incidents is important. Below are 4 of the most common causes of blowouts drivers on the road face.

 

  • Inadequate Tire Inflation

As discussed above, tire blowouts typically occur when tires are underinflated. If trucks begin their journey with improper tire inflation, the chances of a blowout occurring increase significantly.

  • Roadway Hazards

Tires are made up of many parts, including rubber, steel and different fibers. While these materials can withstand a significant amount of stress, potholes, uneven pavement or other roadway debris can overload the stress on the tire, causing it to suddenly burst.

  • Maintenance Issues

Maintenance obligations on semi trucks are serious business. Trucking companies and the drivers themselves must ensure the truck is safe to drive and safe to be put on the road with thousands of other drivers. Not properly maintaining each tire on a semi truck puts drivers in danger each time they hit the road.

  • Overloaded Trailer

A loaded trailer can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. This extreme weight puts significant pressure on a semi trucks tires and brakes, often causing them to fail without any warning. When trailers are overloaded, the chances of tires not being able to withstand the load increases, as does the frequency of tire blowouts.

 

Who is liable?

As you can see, truck tire blowouts can occur from a number of different reasons. While some causes are from unpreventable accidents, others may result from negligence by either the truck driver or the trucking company. Often it can be difficult to discern exactly who is responsible for injury caused by a truck tire blowout. In these cases, it’s crucial to engage a qualified personal injury attorney to help assess the situation and determine the appropriate responsible parties.  

In addition to determining who is liable, understanding negligence laws as well as joint and several liability under North Carolina law is also crucial to being fully compensated for your injuries. North Carolina follows the legal principle of contributory negligence. Under this principle, the law prohibits injured victims from recovering any compensation if their actions contributed to the crash–even if the other driver was 99% at fault.

Tire blowouts from semi trucks continue to increase in frequency across the country. These can often be come of the most frightening and serious accidents experienced by drivers. If you or a loved one were injured from such an accident, engaging a qualified and experienced truck accident attorney is important to guarantee responsible parties are held accountable, and you or your loved ones are fully compensated.

trucking regulations Robert armstrong personal injury attorney north carolina

It’s a new year and a new era of regulations for truck drivers in the United States.

The trucking industry is among the most regulated industries in the country, and this year there are even more rules to add to the long list. These rules are designed to make the roads safer for truck drivers and motorists alike.

What are the most important trucker regulations for 2017?

Here are some of the highlights of the proposed new regulations for the trucking industry:

 

  • More training for truck drivers – The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has proposed increased training for truckers. The uptick in training hours is expected to help retain truckers for the long-term, but it also has a big price tag attached. The same agency that implemented the new rule admits that it could cost more than $5 and-a-half billion over the next 10 years. It could make trucking companies implement in-house training programs, which will surely put a financial burden on the industry.
  • More environmental regulations – There are new regulations for truckers and the environment. The rules are designed to lower greenhouse gas emissions and make fuel economy better. It will be up to the trucking manufacturers to bring their products up to the increased environmental standards. That could mean higher costs for trucking companies to purchase the new parts, but the Environmental Protection Agency assures the industry that they will recover those additional costs within two years due to fuel savings.
  • Electronic logging devices – The electronic logging device (ELD) rule is aimed at helping to create a safer work environment for drivers and help to more quickly and accurately track, manage, and share records of duty status. Companies have until December 2017 to start using them, but they should start getting ready for them as soon as possible. An ELD works by syncing up with the truck’s engine to automatically record driving time.
  • Hours-of-service rule – The new regulations also will limit truck drivers to 73 hours of work for every seven days. That will be hard to get around with the new electronic logging devices, which will be able to tell how long the truck has been on the road. That means one thing for trucking companies: You have to comply. When the regulators say drive time, that doesn’t just mean the hours that trucks are driving. If you’re sitting idle and waiting for your next dispatch, or if you’re loading and unloading your cargo, both will count toward your hours of service.

 

All of these new regulations are expected to increase safety on the roads and major highways of America.

Accidents involving trucks are typically more serious than accidents involving other vehicles. That’s why it’s so important that you contact an experienced personal injury attorney if you’re involved in a wreck with a big rig.

Contact Robert Armstrong’s office today for help.

 

Robert armstrong personal injury attorney north carolina

Trucking accidents are one of the most severe and dangerous types of auto accidents a person can be involved in. These accidents can easily leave the victims with major injuries, physical pain, and emotional trauma; in some cases they may even be fatal.

That is why it is important to understand the issues that contribute to the severity of a trucking accident.

Some of the major issues in some truck accident lawsuits are:

  • The qualifications of the driver;
  • The safety training provided by the company;
  • The condition of the tractor or trailer;
  • Hours worked by the driver; and
  • Actions of the driver.

Whenever there is a motor vehicle accident the question becomes who is at fault for causing the crash. That is always the main issue in every case involving a car accident or an 18-wheeler.

Truck drivers and trucking companies are subject to additional rules and regulations that do not apply to everyday drivers. Truck drivers are professional drivers much like a pilot in that they have the safety of many under their hands.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations provide a baseline safety standard for compliance by both truck driver and trucking company. The regulations also cover duties and obligations of others such as maintenance providers who may provide services to the trucking company.

Additional factors in a trucking accident include:

THE SPEED AT IMPACT

The speed at which the impact occurs is another case of not being able to fight physics. If the big rig truck slams into you at high speeds it’s going to exert a great deal more force than if the accident occurred at slow speeds. If your own vehicle is traveling at high speed as well this could make you more likely to spin out of control and crash into someone or something else.

High speeds are also a contributing factor for the accident to occur in the first place. It is much easier to stop in time to prevent an accident at slower speeds, and similarly it is also easier to take evasive action. High speeds may also make it more difficult to stop in bad weather or dangerous road conditions.

THE CARGO BEING CARRIED

In some tragic cases the cargo that the 18-wheeler is carrying may ultimately end up being what does the most harm in an accident. Heavy pipes and large equipment that are being hauled on a flatbed truck for instance may break loose as the result of an accident and crush the other car. Chemicals such as flammable liquids and gases, or other hazmat and toxic substances can also easily make a bad situation much worse. In some cases these dangerous substances could even prevent emergency responders from successfully rescuing victims.

THE PRESENCE OF SAFETY DEVICES

There is a reason why seat belt laws have been gaining ground and why airbags now come standard in most cars. These safety devices go a very long way toward minimizing the harm and injury that happens during an accident. Many cars are also specially engineered to crumple in strategic places while remaining firm in other places, thereby distributing the force of the accident and minimizing injury to the driver and passengers.

THE LOCAL ENVIRONMENT

Getting hit by a big rig truck is bad enough, but if the impact pushes your car down a steep embankment, or over a bridge or overpass, that will obviously result in an even higher likelihood of serious injury or even death. Dangerous weather conditions, or simply bad traffic, may also delay ambulances and rescue workers. Along the same lines if your accident happens very far from a hospital or trauma center capable of treating your wounds your chances of surviving with minimal long-term damage will likely be much bleaker than if you were mere minutes away from a top facility when the accident happened.

HUMAN FACTORS

Human factors can also go a long way toward minimizing, or exacerbating, an accident. For example, if the trucker is able to begin applying brakes prior to collision then this will at least result in the accident happening at a slightly slower speed. The driver of the struck vehicle may also in some cases be able to avoid hitting another car or object by steering away from it or applying the brakes. Calling 911 immediately or evacuating from a burning vehicle may also be imperative to prevent more serious injury.

Trucking Accident Attorney

Remaining vigilant while on the road and knowing what steps you can take to minimize your injury in an accident are essential. However, sometimes despite best efforts serious injuries and accidents do occur.

When this happens it is important to protect your legal rights and seek the compensation you deserve for your injuries, pain, and suffering.

If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident with an 18 wheeler contact Robert Armstrong today.

truck accident cases more complicated than cars robert armstrong personal injury attorney north carolina

Accidents involving large trucks are far more dangerous than smaller vehicle accidents for one obvious reason – the sheer size of the truck means injuries are often severe or even fatal.

There are other differences between cars and truck accidents, namely:

  • Maneuverability – It’s just so big. That’s why it can’t swerve as quickly to miss a deer on the highway, and it needs more than twice the distance of a car to complete a turn. And when it does turn abruptly, it runs the risk of “jackknifing” into a V shape.
  • Stopping distance – It’s pretty simple, according to physics: the bigger the vehicle, the more difficult it is to stop it once it’s moving. If another car or truck stops suddenly in front of a big rig, the chances it will be able to stop in time to avoid a crash are greatly diminished. Experts say while it takes a car just more than 300 feet to stop when it’s traveling 65 miles per hour, a large truck can take over 520 feet to come to a stop.

Because there are so many additional responsibilities involved in driving a big rig, it’s important that truck drivers are highly trained and adhere to federal truck driving regulations, including the number of hours they drive consecutively, the number of hours they work in a week, and many, many more.

In 2014, 97 percent of the 3,600 deaths from truck accidents were passengers in a car.

What are some safety tips for dealing with big trucks?

Here are a few ways you can stay safe around semis:

  • Don’t cut off trucks.
  • Make sure they have lots of room to stop.
  • Always pass on the left side of a truck instead of the right side. The blind side on the right is much bigger.
  • Try to stay out of their blind spots.

What are the rules for truck drivers in North Carolina?

In North Carolina, truck drivers must adhere to both Federal and State guidelines designed to combat driver fatigue, since driver fatigue is often the cause for such serious or deadly crashes involving large trucks.

Truckers in North Carolina also are responsible for the following crucial things:

  • Regular truck maintenance
  • Keeping detailed record logs, which include noting the number of hours they are driving and the number of hours they are resting.

However, not all truck drivers follow the strict laws that govern the trucking industry, and trucking companies are often multi-million dollar companies with huge liabilities.

When you’re involved in an accident with a semi, it’s important that you hire a personal injury attorney with experience in 18-wheeler accidents. Contact Robert Armstrong today.