Tire Blowout on North Carolina Bus Blamed for Devastating Accident
A devastating accident resulted in eight deaths after a bus's left front tire blew out as a church group was returning to North Carolina. The bus was carrying 18 senior citizens from a Statesville church who had attended a Fall Jubilee preaching and singing concert.
Bus accident lawyers in North Carolina know that tire blowouts are one of the leading causes of accidents. Although the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration sets strict rules for maintenance of commercial vehicles and imposes requirements on the types and condition of tires used on buses, the recent fatal bus crash is an important reminder that things can go wrong.
Tire Blowouts are Dangerous for Bus Passengers
My Fox 8 reported that the tire blowout in the bus accident caused the vehicle to cross the grassy median on the interstate. The bus clipped an SUV and then collided with a tractor-trailer before overturning. The tractor-trailer caught fire in the crash.
One of the three occupants of the SUV was killed, and the tractor-trailer driver also died in the accident. Six bus passengers were killed, and a total of 14 suffered serious injuries including two listed in critical condition and seven listed in serious condition. Authorities indicate that it may be necessary to use dental records to identify the victims killed in the crash.
Unfortunately, tragic incidents like this one are not uncommon when tires blow. Estimates from Police One indicate that as around 23,000 collisions occur annually and that many as 535 people die each year because of blowouts. Many of the accidents and deaths happen because drivers panic when they hear the booming sound of the blowout, braking hard or trying to steer in a way that causes a loss of control.
Avoiding Fatalities from Tire Blowouts
The FMCSA requires that all tires on the front wheels of a bus, tractor trailer or truck have a tread groove pattern depth of at least 4/32 of an inch when measured at any point. The tires must also have the appropriate cold inflation pressure specified for the load being carried. Routine inspections are mandated by the FMCSA and drivers are expected to check their tire pressure regularly before operating the vehicle to ensure that there is no damage that could result in a blowout.
Unfortunately, tires can blow out even when proper care is taken, especially if the vehicle hits a curb or if the tire malfunctions. When this occurs, the key is to avoid overreacting and panicking.
After the blowout, the vehicle has a tendency to pull toward the side where the tire deflated. The dynamics of the vehicle usually won't cause a crash at this point, unless the driver jerks the steering wheel or slams on the brakes, both of which are common actions by panicked drivers. If drivers instead accelerate slowly and hold the wheel straight and firm after the accident, the driver should be able to safely stop the vehicle by decelerating slowly and tapping the brake lightly.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a bus accident, our lawyers in Wilmington, NC can help. Give us a call today at 1-800-FLEXNER for your free legal consultation.