NEW YORK – The number of large truck crashes have steadily been rising since 2010. In the last five years, heavy trucks and buses played a role in over 14,000 fatal accidents. Many researchers believe an improving economy is allowing more companies to put more 18-wheelers on the road and the increased number of trucks can statistically account for the increased number of accidents.
However, new research found the truck’s tires may be directly responsible for crashes. In March, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) studied multiple tire blowouts and found that high speed and a lack of maintenance is to blame.
“Truck tires were not made for speeds over 75 miles per hour. Unfortunately, some truck drivers push the speed limit and in some areas, they’re moving at speeds greater than 75 or 80 miles per hour on highways around New York,” truck accident lawyer Ross Cellino said.
A total of 16 states have truck speed limits equal to or greater than 75 miles per hour. For years, The American Trucking Association has been warning all drivers of the dangers involved in areas with increased speed limits, suggesting the maximum speed should be capped at 65 mph.
New York truck accident lawyers say speed is clearly a factor in many truck crashes and adding special speed limits for trucks and better enforcement of truck lanes could improve highway safety.
“The distance it takes a vehicle to stop greatly increases at higher speeds,” Cellino said. “If large trucks that weigh 20 to 30 times more than a passenger vehicle are going 65, 75, or even 80 miles per hour, that’s a recipe for disaster and it doesn’t matter what kind of tires are on that vehicle.”
The NHTSA is currently conducting research and analysis on truck tires and the causes of failures to help pinpoint the crash safety problems associated with heavy trucks.