Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Runaway Truck Tires Can Kill Potentially Fatal Accident Happens Three Times a Day, Study Says

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Runaway Truck Tires Can Kill Potentially Fatal Accident Happens Three Times a Day, Study Says

Article excerpt

About three times a day, a truck loses a wheel and causes an accident on America's highways, a federal study says.

Just such an incident killed a man recently on Interstate 44 near Marshfield. A tire and brake drum flew off a gasoline tanker, bounced across the highway and smashed into the man's westbound car.

Nationwide, runaway truck wheels cause between 750 to 1,050 accidents yearly, a National Transportation Safety Board investigation found in 1993.

A truck usually loses a wheel for one of two reasons, said Larry Strawhorn of the American Trucking Trucking Association in Washington:

Steel wheels break apart because they were improperly tightened.

The wheel bearings malfunction and lock up. This causes friction, which heats the axle until it breaks apart.

"Good maintenance can prevent both those things from happening," Strawhorn said.

He added: "When you think of the number of trucks on the highways, probably 200,000 on any day, times 18 for the number of wheels on each truck, times the number of miles that those trucks go in a year, then the odds are like a bajillion to one against a wheel coming off. …

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