Blowouts, tread separation, and rim flaws are three examples of deficiencies commonly found in a defective tire. Over three trillion miles are traveled annually in the United States alone and according to the Consumer Watch, over 10,000 injuries and nearly 500 fatalities are directly associated with an imperfect or malformed automobile tire.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, one in eleven (or nine percent of) vehicle crashes are related to the tire. Improper manufacturing may lead to premature aging or sudden product failure. Premature aging is not always visible at a glance. In fact, a failing product can have plenty of tread while the actual integrity of the tire is poor. Proper maintenance by a professional is essential in detecting product integrity.
Safety institutes recommend checking a vehicle monthly as part of a maintenance program. One important part of monthly vehicle maintenance is to check tread-wear and inflation. Companies suggest regular rotation by a professional every few months or within a certain number of miles. Regular maintenance will not only help the driver avoid accidents, but it will also improve fuel economy and sluggish vehicle handling. Finding imperfections early is important, and professional examination is the best way to find a defective tire. A lawyer can be consulted if the imperfection causes an accident.
Recently, manufacturers have taken an active role in better protecting the consumer. Advanced technologies and voluntary recalls protect the consumer quickly. While fault manufacturing is never intentional, manufacturers usually discover defects during the testing phase of a product. If, however, a faulty product makes it to the marketplace, the manufacturer is responsible for possible damages incurred due to the flaws.
One step taken by manufacturers to improve product safety is called the Tire Pressure Monitoring System, or TPMS. Vehicles manufactured after 2004 are equipped with a TPMS. The TPMS indicator is on the dashboard and looks similar to a round wheel with tread on the bottom, and an open top with an exclamation point in the middle. The TPMS indicator illuminates whenever at least one of the wheels is under-inflated by more than 25 percent. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration states 12 percent of drivers operate a vehicle with at least one under-inflated tire.
Everything rides on safety, and a series of accidents in the past caused a recall of Firestone tires costing the company over $3 billion in damages. American Pacific Industries recalled a series of tires in 2008 due to air pressure loss while in motion that caused a significant loss of control. Premature tread wearing caused tire recalls in 2006. Overall, more than 400 million such products have been officially declared unsafe or defective, forcing a number of defective tire recalls.
Contact our Houston, TX tire defect lawyers if a flawed product has caused you or someone you love injury or death.