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Serious accidents can be caused by an invisible hazard -- tires

A year ago this February, a horrendous crash took the lives of four people and injured nearly 30 others. The cause of the accident was the failure of an SUV's tires, which were 10 years old. Now, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is cautioning drivers throughout the country, including in Louisiana, that aging tires can cause serious accidents.

In the accident in question, the tires on the SUV were around 10 years old. On the day of the crash, the tread separated, which caused the driver to lose control of the vehicle. The SUV began spinning, careened through the median and slammed into a school bus carrying high school baseball coaches and players. Four people in the SUV suffered fatal injuries to which they succumbed. Approximately 30 people on the school bus suffered a variety of unknown injuries.

According to the NHTSA, tires can appear to be in good condition when they may not actually be safe. This tends to create an "invisible hazard" for drivers since tire failure can be unpredictable. Some people believe that tires should have an expiration date. Unfortunately, wear patterns on tires differ depending on how the vehicle is stored, along with the driving habits of the people behind the wheels.

Louisiana drivers who are involved in serious accidents caused by old or defective tires may be able to include the manufacturers and distributors of the tires in any civil actions filed as a result. A thorough review of the circumstances surrounding the crash and an inspection of the tires themselves could prove invaluable in making such a determination. Enlisting the advice and assistance of someone familiar with proving negligence in civil actions would most likely be beneficial.

Source: 19actionnews.com, "Consumer Alert: Dangerous Tires", Danielle Serino, Jan. 27, 2015

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