Hazardous Highways: The Risk of Tire Blowouts in 18-Wheelers Carrying Heavy Equipment

by | Jan 14, 2024 | Auto Accident, Firm News

Transporting heavy equipment like bulldozers on 18-wheelers presents a unique set of challenges and risks, particularly concerning tire integrity and performance. Tire blowouts, while a significant risk for all vehicles, are especially dangerous for trucks carrying heavy loads due to the potential for loss of control and catastrophic accidents. This article examines the dangers associated with tire blowouts on 18-wheelers loaded with heavy equipment, explores common causes and scenarios of these incidents, details the injuries that can result, and discusses the legal implications for those involved.

The Increased Risk of Tire Blowouts in Heavy Equipment Transportation

The additional weight of heavy equipment such as bulldozers places extra stress on 18-wheeler tires, which can lead to increased wear and higher susceptibility to blowouts. The risk factors include:

  • Overloading: Exceeding the tire’s weight capacity can cause excessive heat buildup within the tire, compromising its structural integrity and increasing the likelihood of a blowout.
  • Under-Inflation: Tires that are not inflated according to the load’s weight may flex beyond their normal capacity, which generates additional heat and accelerates tire wear.
  • Poor Maintenance: Neglecting regular tire inspections and maintenance, such as checking for tread wear or embedded objects, can leave tires vulnerable to failure.

Accident Scenarios Caused by Tire Blowouts

Tire blowouts can result in several dangerous scenarios on the highway:

  • Loss of Vehicle Control: When a tire blowout occurs, the sudden loss of stability can cause the driver to lose control, potentially leading to the truck swerving across lanes or off the road.
  • Rollovers: Particularly with top-heavy loads like construction equipment, the abrupt shift in weight distribution following a tire blowout can lead to rollovers, endangering both the truck occupants and nearby vehicles.
  • Secondary Collisions: Debris from the blown tire can hit nearby vehicles, or other drivers may collide with each other while trying to avoid the disabled truck or scattered tire remnants.

Potential Injuries from Tire Blowout Accidents

The injuries resulting from accidents caused by tire blowouts on 18-wheelers carrying heavy equipment are often severe, given the dynamics of such incidents:

  • Multiple Trauma Injuries: Passengers in vehicles that collide with the truck or that are struck by the truck as it loses control can suffer from multiple injuries, including fractures, internal injuries, and head trauma.
  • Fatalities: The sheer size and weight of an 18-wheeler, especially one carrying heavy equipment, increase the likelihood of fatal outcomes in high-speed highway collisions.
  • Spinal Injuries: Both truck drivers and other motorists can suffer from serious back and neck injuries due to the violent jarring and impact forces of a blowout-induced accident.

Legal and Safety Considerations

In the aftermath of a tire blowout incident involving an 18-wheeler, several legal considerations come into play:

  • Liability: Determining who is at fault in a tire blowout incident can be complex. Potential liability may lie with the truck driver or trucking company for inadequate maintenance, the tire manufacturer for defects, or even service providers who last maintained the vehicle.
  • Regulatory Compliance: Trucking companies are required to adhere to stringent safety standards, including those governing vehicle maintenance and cargo loading. Failure to comply can lead to penalties and strengthen liability claims in personal injury lawsuits.
  • Personal Injury Claims: Victims of tire blowout accidents may seek compensation for medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and more through personal injury claims. These cases require thorough investigation and expert testimony to establish negligence and causation.

Given the severe risks associated with tire blowouts, it is imperative for trucking companies to implement rigorous maintenance routines, adhere to load capacity guidelines, and ensure proper tire inflation according to the specific demands of transporting heavy equipment. For individuals involved in a tire blowout accident, consulting with an experienced personal injury attorney is crucial to navigate the complex legal landscape and ensure all potential sources of compensation are explored

Spagnoletti Law Firm has attorneys licensed in Texas, Florida, New Mexico and New York.  We have handled numerous cases involving catastrophic auto and bus accidents in both federal and state court across the country.  Our attorneys have extensive experience and the skills needed to aggressively represent the families of loved ones who have lost their lives or been seriously injured in a trucking or commercial vehicle accident.

The experienced accident attorneys at Spagnoletti Law Firm have previously been involved in similar cases and can help you understand your rights if you or a loved one was involved in an accident. Please contact us online or call 713-804-9306 or to learn more about your legal rights.