The weight and size disparity of passenger vehicles and large, commercial semitrucks means that there is no contest when the two tangle in highway accidents. That's why it's vital for big rig drivers to perform regular maintenance tasks on their trucks.
Making sure that the truck's tires are not in violation of the Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) program is a priority. Unsafe tires on a fully-loaded 18-wheeler barreling down the highway is a recipe for serious disaster. If a big rig's tire suddenly deflates, truckers get violations and the truck is taken out-of-service (OOS). Repercussions of OOS violations are quite severe for drivers and their companies.
Tire violations are monitored under "vehicle maintenance," one of the seven Behavior, Analysis, Safety Improvement Categories (BASIC) that are evaluated during roadside inspections. Tire violations assessed at eight points include:
- Separated sidewall or tread
- Flat tires
- Exposed belt, ply or fabric
- Air leaking audibly
- Insufficient tread depth
Truckers can rack up a series of three-point violations for:
- Under-inflated truck tires
- Improper tire load weight ratings
- Using re-grooved tires
These black marks remain against the trucking company's safety score for two years. That's another reason why avoiding tire violations is so important. The following tips can help truckers remain on the road and in compliance:
- Tire inspections done before each trip
- Correct air pressure monitored
- Check for signs of irregular wear
- Appropriate tread depths
- Suspension components inspected
Most truck drivers find that using wide-base single tires on both the trailer and drive axles simplifies maintenance routines.
Even trucks with good tires can still be involved in auto accidents. Injured drivers and passengers may be able to pursue financial compensation from at-fault truck drivers and the fleet itself.
Source: Michelin, "Tire Maintenance & CSA," accessed Dec. 22, 2017