National Guardsman Discovers Defect in Tires Leading to Improved Safety
When you hear about multi-million dollar verdicts in the paper, that is very bad news. Someone lost their life or was paralyzed or otherwise sustained injuries that they will have to endure for the rest of their lives. That’s what a very high verdict means. It cannot, in earnest, be celebrated. Last spring, CW2 Stephen Plouvier of the Kentucky National Guard discovered a defect in tires that potentially saved a number of lives. This led to a safety directive that alerted guardsmen and other military soldiers to run a spot check of the tires before using them.
Here is a rule of thumb that we don’t get to talk about often enough: The more weight a tire has to carry, the more complex it is. The more complex the tire is, the more chances it has to fail. As a result of CW2 Plouvier’s catch, a Safety of Use Message was sent out to all branches of the military that used the tire warning those who used the tire that serious injury, death, or serious damage to equipment could result if the measures were not taken to prevent the problem.
What Was the Problem?
The safety message indicated that there was a tire defect that was related to the weakening and cracking of the sidewalls and that these defects had the potential to lead to tire failure. The message also indicated that if the defect was present, it could lead to a sudden blowout. It also indicated that the tires must be removed if this defect was present.
The defect is related to High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV) tire and, nationwide, a number of accidents have been attributed to the defect causing blowouts to occur. On inspection, it was discovered that 1200 tires were damaged in the Kentucky National Guard alone.
Sidewall cracks are a serious issue for tire safety. They can happen for a number of reasons. When a tire is fitted to a vehicle, it’s proximity to the engine has to be taken into account. Since engines produce heat, the heat has the capacity to harden the rubber causing sidewall cracks. The tire manufacturer is responsible for anticipating these problems before marketing the tire toward a particular use. In cases where they don’t, they are responsible for injuries that occur.
Hardening related to overheating or dry rot generally causes the tire to lose cohesion faster than the warranty covers it for. Weakening in the sidewalls ensures that pressure that is coming from within and on top of the tire is not evenly distributed inside the tire. Once that happens, the problem becomes cumulative especially considering how much weight these tires are required to support. Luckily, the problem was caught in time to prevent future injuries, accidents, and deaths.
Talk to a Tire Defect Attorney
Halpern, Santos & Pinkert are Coral Gables tire defect attorneys who recover damages when tire companies manufacture defective tires. If you have been injured by a defective tire, please reach out for a free consultation and we can discuss your options for recovery.