A truck accident that could have had tragic consequences fortunately only turned into a headache for commuters and a messy cleanup for Virginia Department of Transportation workers.
The accident occurred in the eastbound lanes of I-64 at the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel, during the noon lunch hour, when a GMC dump truck blew out a tire, which sent the truck crashing into the tunnel wall. The impact caused the truck to begin pouring out diesel oil. Authorities were forced to shut down both of the eastbound lanes while workers cleaned up the 20 gallons of oil which had spilled. The two-hour shut down caused a traffic backup for miles.
No other vehicles were involved in the truck accident and the truck driver received only minor injuries in the crash. However, although a serious truck accident was avoided in this incident, it should serve as a reminder to all trucking companies and other motor carriers to frequently inspect the tires on their vehicles in order to prevent serious collisions and injuries.
One of the most dangerous causes for truck accidents is tire blowouts and failures. Unlike flat tires, in accidents where a tractor-trailer tire blows out, the tire completely explodes. This can cause the driver to lose control of the massive vehicle, leading to severe crashes, especially if the truck was traveling at a high speed.
Common causes for tire blowouts include improperly inflated tires. An under-inflated tire has empty space which fills with heat and this can cause the air inside to expand and then explode. The extra air in an over-inflated tire can put too much pressure on the tire, until it eventually explodes.
Another cause of tire blowouts is the failure of the driver and/or trucking company to properly inspect and maintain the vehicle, checking to ensure the tires do not show any signs of wear and tear. Most tire manufacturers place a six-year age limit on the life of vehicle tires. Unfortunately, some motor carriers may attempt to cut corners by either ignoring the signs of aging tires, or replacing them with used or old tires, which can be significantly cheaper than new tires. But this decision can be the catalyst to a deadly truck accident.
Every tire has a tire identification number, which can be found on the whitewall of the tire, facing out on the sidewall. The last four digits of the number reveal when the tire was manufactured. The first two digits indicate which number week and the last two digits are the year in which the tire was made.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a tractor-trailer crash, contact a skilled Virginia truck accident attorney. Our personal injury attorneys have successfully represented many clients who have been injured by trucks in which the companies have failed to adhere to a duty of care and have allowed dangerous trucks to remain on the road.