It would seem to be unusual way for a trucking accident to occur, but a new story in the Indianapolis Star reports that six people have been killed on the nation’s highways this year by wheels that broke loose from semi trucks. The latest victim was a police officer that was helping another officer at a traffic stop. Particularly disconcerting is the fact that the truck driver didn’t even realize he had lost the wheel that killed the officer.
Mechanical failure is not a new problem in trucking accidents. According to the story:
Mechanical failure contributes to about 10 percent of serious accidents involving tractor trailers, according to a 2006 study by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Let’s all hope that those increase in numbers don’t lead to an increase in personal injuries.
Tire or wheel failure is one of the top three problems associated with such mechanical failures, the report stated, along with braking problems and a shift of cargo.
Wheel separation may also occur due to assembly errors, corrosion or poor installation and maintenance, according to a 1995 report from the Ontario Ministry of Transportation in Canada.
I wish I had statistics for the Austin – Central Texas area, but it seems like the number of trucks that drive up and down I35 is growing exponentially.
For more information on this subject, please refer to the section on Tractor-trailer accidents.