Flying Tire Takes Life of Marine
18-year-old Lance Cpl. Olivia Kustes was killed by a tire that had come off of a pickup truck. The wheel came off the truck and then barrelled over the median into oncoming traffic. Kustes was pronounced dead at the scene.
While it may sound like a freak accident, it’s a “freak accident” that happens all too often. The question then becomes: Why?
Why “Flying Tire” Accidents Happen
Flying tire accidents happen when the tire unlatches itself from a vehicle. Typically, the tire bounces over into oncoming traffic where it absolutely destroys the vehicle it strikes.
Most tires on sedans way around 25 lbs, but the bigger the vehicle, the heavier the tire. By the time you’re talking about tires that are fitted on tractor trailers, you’re talking about tires that weigh over 100 lbs. The force of these accidents can exceed 60,000 lbs/ft.
“Freak Accident” All Too Common
In March of 2019, a Tulane University student described as “gifted” was struck by a flying tire that hit her while she was getting into her vehicle at a rest stop. She was killed. The vehicle was a tractor-trailer so the tire would have weighed over 100 lbs. It was determined later that the truck may have been missing a part that caused the wheel to fly off.
In August of 2018, two cousins (24 and 15 years old) were killed when a tire struck the windshield of their vehicle. Those on the scene described it as a “freak accident”.
Flying Tire Accidents are Inevitable When Vehicles are Not Maintained Properly
If the vehicle isn’t being cared for or inspected properly, flying tire accidents are inevitable. The chances that they will hurt or maim another person depend only on the amount of traffic in the area where the tire comes off the vehicle. These tires often hop the divider and strike vehicles at great speed and with great force. When the tire strikes the windshield of a vehicle in oncoming traffic, the result is almost always death or serious permanent injury.
Who is Liable in a Flying Tire Accident?
If the flying tire comes off a commercial truck or tractor-trailer the company is responsible for any injuries that occur. That’s because these companies are required by law to inspect their vehicles and even basic inspections can reveal whether or not a tire is properly secured to the vehicle.
When it’s a commuter vehicle that comes off, it can be more difficult to establish fault. Commercial vehicles have a higher standard of care in these cases and the burden of ensuring the safety of other drivers on the road is established by law when it comes performing inspections and ensuring the mechanical safety of a commercial before it gets on the road.
Commuter vehicles, even pickup trucks, do not have owners who are expected to perform inspections on their vehicle before taking it out on the road. In this case, it could be the mechanic who serviced the vehicle or a defective part that is responsible.
Talk to a Defective Tire Attorney Today
The Coral Gables tire defect attorneys at Halpern, Santos & Pinkert represent plaintiffs in defective tire lawsuits. Talk to us today for a free consultation.