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Overview of Defective Tires

Injury Attorney for Dallas, Texas

A tire is a ring-like covering that fits around a wheel rim in order to improve vehicle performance by providing a cushion that absorbs shock while maintaining close contact with the ground. The modern tire is made up of synthetic rubber, natural rubber, fabric, wire and other compound chemicals. Prior to the invention of rubber, the early versions of tires were bands of iron (and later steel) that were fitted around wooden wheels. Although rubber has been used in the manufacturing of tires since the 1940's, a number of tires have been recalled over the past several decades due to imperfections, design errors and malfunction. When a tire has a design flaw, or some other form of defect, it can lead to tread separation, rim defects and blowouts, all of which can lead to fatal collisions.

In today's modern tire, the outermost part of the tire is called the tread. It is composed of ribs and traction and grooves that are designed for traction. The tread is located above steel belts and is a separate component that is attached to the inner liner and belt package. If the tire is not bonded correctly, it can separate from the rest of the tire while the vehicle is in motion and cause an accident.

Tread separation is a common, yet almost preventable event that occurs when the tread of the tire literally peels away from the liner (the portion that holds air) during use. Tragically, tread separation during use can lead to a complete loss of control of the vehicle, often times leading to catastrophic injuries, if not fatalities. When the driver is driving at high speeds on a freeway and they are suddenly faced with this situation, it can spell disaster. The truth is that tread separation could be virtually eliminated if tire companies exerted a higher level of care in their design and manufacture of tires. A Dallas personal injury attorney may be able to help in these situations.

Tire blowouts are another common cause for concern, especially when the driver is operating the vehicle at high speeds on the highway. A blowout can occur when inferior materials are used during the manufacturing process, and another common cause of a blowout is an over or under inflated tire. In 2006, a recall was issued for the Ford F-350 Recall ID from NHTSA: 05TO22000 for defective tires, citing that the affected tires may not meet the endurance test requirements and that continued use could result in tire failure which could lead to vehicle damage or a motor vehicle crash. Both the Firestone ATZ and Wilderness tires were linked to a series of fatal collisions and the Department of Transportation (DOT) opened an investigation which led to a massive recall of tires on Ford Explorers, costing Ford in excess of $3 billion.

Common Tire Defects

As a number of tire manufactures might say, "Everything is riding on the tires," and this is completely true. When vehicles have defective tires, the defective tires can lead to a motor vehicle crash which can lead to serious injuries and fatalities. The common types of tire defects are as follows:

  • Old tires – Tires that have been stored in the retailer's shop or in the manufacturer's warehouse for too long.
  • Defective Tires – Tires that have a flaw in design, or tires that are composed of defective materials or even foreign materials that leave the tires prone to tread separation or blowouts.

On November 1, 2000, the TREAD Act was enacted as a direct consequence of the hearings before the Committee on Energy and Commerce on the safety of Firestone tires and related matters. During the course of the hearings, the Committee decided that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) could have detected the problems with tires had they obtained reports about the tires in a timelier manner.

The TREAD Act includes provisions that require vehicle and equipment manufacturers to report the existence of a potential safety defect and to advise the NHTSA of any foreign safety recalls and other safety campaigns. The Act also authorizes the Secretary to require the manufacturer to act quickly when remedying a defect or noncompliance if there is any risk of serious injury or death, and it requires the manufacturer to have a plan for reimbursing owners who incur the costs before they are notified by the manufacturer. Furthermore, the Act prohibits the sale or installation of any defective equipment (including a tire) that has been the subject of a defect or noncompliance recall.

Dallas Defective Tire Attorney

Driving a passenger car, truck or an SUV with a defective tire can be an extremely frightening experience. Tragically, many tire defects don't appear until a time when the motor vehicle is in use and often at high speeds. When tread separation or a blowout occurs while the vehicle is travelling at high speeds, it can cause the driver to lose control of the vehicle, thus leading to a motor vehicle collision, or a rollover. This can be an exceptionally scary experience if you have passengers or children in the vehicle with you at the time of the accident.

At Jackson Allen & Williams, LLP, we handle defective tire cases. We are not afraid to go up against the manufacturer of the tire or the retailer that sold you the defective tire in order to pursue compensation. Most defective tire lawsuits fall under product liability law, which is the area of law that deals with manufacturers, distributors, suppliers and retailers who make and sell dangerous products on the consumer market. Product liability law distinguishes three major types of product liability claims including: manufacturer's defect, and a defect in design and failure to warn (otherwise known as marketing defects). If you or someone you love has been injured due to a defective tire, we urge you to contact a Dallas defective tire lawyer from our firm at once.

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