The Link between Defective Tires and Vehicle Accidents

Each year, Americans drive three trillion miles throughout the country, but few think about their tires on a regular basis. Instead, car owners inflate their tires with air, change them if they are flat, rotate them at scheduled oil changes, and replace them if Lincoln’s head on a penny is viewable. While tires are one of the most important safety features on cars, they are also one of the most overlooked devices.

Tires take on a tremendous amount of wear-and-tear on a daily basis, but people may be more inclined to use their tires for longer than what is intended in order to stave off the cost of replacement or to avoid buying new tires altogether. However, while purposefully doing so can be dangerous, it is important to understand that not all types of deterioration are easy to discern. Unfortunately, whether the tires are weakening due to an inherent flaw in workmanship or design, or simply from excessive wear, the first sign of a defective tire is often a blowout.

According to a report released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in 2012, tire failure is the cause of more than 75,000 car accidents, 10,000 injuries, and 400 deaths each year in the U.S. After reviewing simulations of tire separations, the NHTSA also found that an experienced driver who knows that he or she is going to experience a tread separation is rarely able to maintain control of his or her vehicle when it happens. As a result of this loss of control, the driver may be more likely to veer off the road, hit another car, pedestrian or bystander, or cause other severe and potentially fatal damages.

Tire defects are likely due to ineffective adhesion, typically because of the age of the glue or the poor bonding of the tire components during the manufacturing process. When a tire is produced, impurities, moisture, and other foreign materials are capable of entering the mix and may be cured into the tire. While tire manufacturers have allegedly known of these issues for years, many have failed to correct them or have neglected to implement better design processes that are less prone to failure. For example, improving skin stock can help the rubber to better bond with the steel, assist in the reinforcement of the tire components, and reduce the likelihood that the tread will separate from the tire and cause a serious or fatal accident.

Source:
http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/811617.pdf