Poor tires often contribute to truck accidents. Truck tire blowouts often result in accidents or rollovers, especially during bad weather. Inadequate tread also decreases the ability to stop. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) “Maintaining proper tire pressures, monitoring tire wear, being aware of vehicle load limits, avoiding road hazards and inspecting tires for cuts, slashes and other irregularities are the most important things a driver can do to avoid tire failure”.
No motor vehicle shall be operated on any tire that:
– Has body ply or belt material exposed through the tread or sidewall
– Has any tread or sidewall separation
– Is flat or has an audible leak
– Front steer tires must have at least 4/32 of an inch tread groove pattern depth, and rear drive tires and trailer tires must have at least 2/32 of an inch tread groove pattern
depth when measured at any point on a major tread groove.
Poor tires are easily identified by law en-forcement personnel and make up a large percentage of roadside violations. To help ensure tires are in safe operating condition drivers should perform the following best practices:
– Verify tire pressures daily: Verify tire pressures everyday before driving. Tire manufacturers recommend checking air pressure when the tire is cold for a more accurate gauge. Tires inflated below the manufacturer’s specification can result in an out-of-service violation.
– Check tire condition: Before and after the trip tires should be thoroughly inspected. Look for air leaks, uneven tread or sidewall damage. All lug nuts should be securely in place and rims should be free of cracks.
– Verify tread depth: Measure treads depths regularly using a depth gauge to ensure tires meet the minimum FMCSA standards. All tires have a wear indicator, a raised spot between the tires treads. If the tread is even with the wear indicator, the tire should be replaced.
– Check between the duals: This should be done to ensure there is no hidden tire damage and to verify that nothing has become lodged between the tires. Also, make sure tires are not rubbing together which could result in an out-of-service violation.
– Report problems immediately: If a tire defect is found, the problem should be reported and the tire should be repaired or replaced immediately. If the damaged tire is in violation of Part 393.75, get it repaired by a road repair service.
– All drivers should have: A commercial grade tire pressure gauge, and a list of phone numbers to contact in the event of a tire defect.