Summer seems to be the prime season to see cars stuck on the side of the road. Traffic has swelled as families take to I-70, trying to get the most out of summer vacation before the back-to-school shopping starts. But many of these families won’t even make it out of Kansas City—especially since lax regulations have just increased the risks of car accidents, rollover crashes, and brain injuries due to bad tires.
Lobbyists Block Higher Safety Standards for Tires
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently rejected a plan that would create a safety standard for tires based on their age. Lobbyists from the Rubber Manufacturers Association and Tire Industry Association support the decision, but others have said that measure only compromises safety.
You may be more likely to see split tires littering the sides of the highway over the coming months due to:
- Weather changes. While tire degradation happens more quickly in hot-weather states, temperature changes from hot to cold can cause tires to expand and contract quickly, weakening the rubber and forming cracks.
- Spares. Even when drivers replace their old tires, they will often neglect to buy a new spare. If one of the newer tires blows out due to a flaw, the spare may be unusable.
- Tire pressure alerts. Most new car models come equipped with mandatory tire pressure monitoring systems, which warn drivers with dashboard alerts when tire pressure is dangerously low. However, cars made prior to 2007 may not have these systems, leaving them to drive for longer periods on under-inflated tires.
- Lack of consumer-friendly dating. Drivers often do not consider the age of their tires to be a problem, but that may be because the age is hard to pinpoint. A spokesman for Safety Research & Strategies Inc. says that most tires have coded dates of manufacture, meaning most consumers—and even dealers—cannot understand when the tires were made.
Why You Should Be Worried About Tire Failure
Many drivers’ lives have been lost simply because their tires looked fine to the naked eye. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is currently investigating two crashes that took place earlier this year, both involving tires made by Michelin North America Inc. The accidents—which caused multiple deaths—have been linked to poor tire performance.
Even when tire blowout accidents are not fatal, they can have devastating consequences. Sudden loss of a tire can cause a driver to spin out of control, making it more likely that the car will roll over in an accident. Rollover crashes are a primary cause of brain injuries, as the driver and passengers can strike their heads repeatedly as the car overturns.
Is someone you love recovering from a traumatic brain injury after a crash? Click the link on this page to read through our free report, Brain Injury Survivor’s Guide, or send us an email to find out how they could hold a tire manufacturer accountable for ongoing medical costs.