Tires Older than Six Years, Even if Tread is Good, Can Fail Quickly

How old are your tires? The answer to that question could save your life.

Tire age and quality might have played a factor in a recent crash on Interstate 95 in Jupiter that resulted in six fatalities, including four children from a Stuart family. Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) investigators reported tread separation—a highly dangerous situation in which the tread comes apart from the body of the tire—caused the driver of a 2011 Mercury Villager to lose control and smash into a concrete wall on the southbound lanes of the interstate before veering back onto the highway and being struck by another vehicle.

Tread Seperation

Auto safety experts say tread separation is most often the result of old tires. Car manufacturers recommend that vehicle owners discard tires older than six years. Yet, many consumers are unaware of this recommendation and judge the integrity of their tires solely on the thickness of tread remaining. Safety advocates warn that tires degrade over time- even if they’re on a vehicle that has primarily sat in a garage and only accumulated a few miles.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration revealed that 90 people are killed and 3,200 are injured yearly in crashes caused by tire aging. Sean Kane, president of Safety Research and Strategies, says the fault does not fall on vehicle owners, but with tire manufacturers, who make it difficult for consumers to easily determine when a tire was made.

Tires have a “born-on” date molded into the side-walls, and the date can be found at the end of a long serial number that begins with the letters “DOT.” The final four numbers correspond to the two-digit week the tire was manufactured followed by the two-digit year. For instance, a tire that ends with 3015 means a tire was made in the 30th week of 2015. Increasing the difficulty, some born-on dates are molded into the inside portion of the tire, requiring consumers to go underneath the car with a flashlight to find it.

The combination of age and South Florida’s hot and dry climate is a volatile mix because it can shorten the lifespan of tires. If tires are not properly maintained, the results can be catastrophic. When aged tires fail, they fail very rapidly. A driver is not likely to “hear” the tread giving way and pull over to the side of the road. The dangers are particularly acute when the tread on a rear tire separates because it causes the vehicle to over-steer, a condition in which the vehicle begins to spin and the driver loses control.

Whether you’ve been injured in an auto or trucking accident, motorcycle accident, slip or fall, dog bite, or if your loved one has been the victim of a wrongful death accident, you deserve to have a powerful and proven Florida Personal Injury Lawyer defending your rights. Before you speak with an insurance company, contact me for a free consultation. I will make sure that you are not bullied or rushed into making a decision, and you will not owe anything unless I win your case. Don’t delay in contacting me today at any of my four offices in Fort Pierce, Port St. Lucie, Vero Beach, and Okeechobee. Call 866-460-1990.

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