Tire Defect / Bald Tire Trucking Accidents

When a tire on a large commercial truck blows out, it doesn’t explodes with potentially deadly force, sending tire fragments flying and sometimes causing the big rig to careen off course and crash. Crashes caused by tire blowouts are among the most easily preventable and ordinarily just do not happen in the absence of negligence.

All trucking companies and the companies they hire for service and maintenance are responsible for maintaining trucks and tires. Truck drivers are responsible for inspecting tires for proper inflation and wear before and after every trip. Truck tire manufacturers are responsible for making their products free from defects.

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, which are also industry standards and practices defining a standard of care in the trucking business, include detailed requirements for equipment including tires, as well as specific standards for routine inspection and maintenance. More specifically, these regulations mandate that no truck can operate with the following hazardous tire conditions:

  • Tires with a groove pattern depth of less than 4/32 of an inch
  • Tread or sidewall separation
  • Flat or audibly leaking tires
  • Exposed ply or belt material
  • Regrooved, recapped or retreaded tires on the front wheels
  • A tire inflated to less than what is specified for the load
  • Tires not correctly inflated for heat

The Commercial Driver’s License Manuals for Georgia and all other states are essentially identical, with only very minor variations. The current Georgia CDL manual at Section 2.1 outlines vehicle inspection rules in more detail than the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations. Section 2.1.3 outlines inspection of the following wheel issues:

  • Too much or too little air pressure.
  • Excessive wear. Truck tires need at least 4/32-inch tread depth in every major groove on front tires and 2/32 inch on other tires. No fabric should show through the tread or sidewall.
  • Cuts or other damage
  • Tread separation.
  • Dual tires that come in contact with each other or parts of the vehicle.
  • Mismatched sizes.
  • Radial and bias-ply tires used together.
  • Cut or cracked valve stems.
  • Regrooved, recapped, or retreaded tires on the front wheels of a bus. These are prohibited.

Litigation of catastrophic truck crash cases involving tire failure involves investigation, discovery and expert analysis of compliance with federal regulations, maintenance standards and weight limits, as well as defects in tire manufacturing and service.