Automobile safety is a topic that generates a lot of publicity, as it has the potential to save lives on a daily basis. Indeed, our firm of Providence car accident lawyers actively encourages safe automobile practices. Aside from the more widely recognized areas of auto safety such as distracted driving and seat belt safety, tire safety is less widely known and followed, but has a similar potential to save lives and prevent accidents if properly followed.
A recent article in Trial, an American Association for Justice publication, cites a notable case from Los Angeles County Superior Court (Olguin v. Michelin N. Am., Inc., No. BC456659) that shows the dangers that can flow from unsafe tires. In the case, a multi-million dollar verdict was awarded against an auto repair facility for negligence after installing a 13 year old used tire on a vehicle. The plaintiff acquired four used tires from a salvage lot and had them installed on his vehicle. Eleven days later, the tread separated on one of the tires, causing a rollover accident. The plaintiff experienced significant physical injuries, including spinal fracture, traumatic brain injury, head and arm wounds as well as emotional injuries. At the time of trial, the plaintiff had incurred over $300,000 in medical expenses and was expected to need future medical expenses of about $1.5 million dollars. The jury found the defendant negligent for installing the old tires after they showed signs of cracking.
Fortunately, the dangers associated with tires that Rhode Island personal injury lawyers frequently see are largely preventable. The National Highway Traffic Safety Association encourages taking the following steps every month to prevent accidents and save lives.
· Check tire pressure
· Inspect for uneven wear on tread, cracks, foreign objects
· Make sure all tire valves have caps
· Do not overload your vehicle
· If towing a trailer, remember that some of the weight of the loaded trailer is transferred to the towing vehicle.
Further, the Rubber Manufacturers Association advises use of the PART acronym, which stands for Pressure, Alignment, Rotation and Tread, to encourage tire safety. Drivers should inspect each of these four elements regularly and in accordance with manufacturer specifications.