Report: Texas speed limits are too high for truck tires to handle

The high speed limits observed in Texas may increase the likelihood of truck tire blowouts and raise the risk of truck crashes in various other ways.

Drivers in Austin are accustomed to driving on roads with high speed limits and sharing those roads with large trucks. Many drivers don't think twice about the way these factors may affect their safety. Sadly, the high speed limits observed in Texas may increase the risk of truck accidents in various ways. A new investigation suggests that accidents involving truck tire blowouts may be especially likely in areas where speeds exceed 75 mph.

Excessive, unsafe speeds

Most truck tires are designed to withstand maximum speeds of 75 mph, according to Dallas Morning News. This standard reflects the lower speed limits that used to be followed throughout the U.S. Unfortunately, today, many states allow significantly higher speed limits. Texas, which is currently the only state with an 85-mph speed limit on rural roads, is a prominent example.

When trucks travel faster than 75 mph, their tires are subjected to high levels of friction and heat. This can damage the rubber and raise the risk of blowouts. Fast travel speeds may be a common cause of blowouts, according to a recent investigation. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reviewed 16 complaints regarding Michelin tire blowouts. The investigators concluded that, in every case, the most likely cause was truck travel speeds that exceeded 75 mph.

This danger could theoretically be addressed in a few ways. Manufacturers could produce tires that are designed to hold up at higher speeds. Speed-limiting devices could also be used to prevent trucks from reaching speeds that raise the risk of blowouts. Still, these measures may not be implemented for some time, leaving motorists in states such as Texas in danger of needless accidents.

Other speed-related risks

Tire blowouts are not the only danger that high speed limits introduce. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, high-speed travel creates the following effects, which may be especially detrimental during large truck accidents:

  • Vehicles traveling at higher speeds need more distance to stop. Faster travel speeds may be especially risky for trucks, which already require a greater stopping distance than other vehicles.
  • More damage occurs in crashes that involve greater vehicle momentum. Speed and weight both contribute to momentum. Since trucks outweigh other vehicles by 20 to 30 times, high-speed crashes involving trucks can be catastrophic.
  • Drivers have less effective reaction time when traveling at higher speeds. Given common trucking industry problems, such as driver fatigue and distraction, this diminished response time may have deadly consequences.

Recent data helps highlight the substantial risk of truck accidents that Texas drivers face. According to the Texas Department of Transportation, in 2013 alone, commercial vehicles were involved in 29,356 crashes in the state. In 4,125 of those crashes, serious injuries were reported. Tragically, 531 people lost their lives in these crashes.

Truck accident recourse

These statistics suggest that Texas truck accidents may harm many innocent drivers this year. When these accidents occur because truck drivers were traveling at unsafe speeds or otherwise acting negligently, victims may have recourse. People who have been injured in such accidents may benefit from speaking with a personal injury attorney about their rights and potential remedies.

Keywords: truck, accident, injury