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DATE: October 9, 2003

INCIDENT TYPE: Vehicle Accident due to Tire Failure

LOCATION: District 8

TYPE OF WORK ACTIVITY: Survey Vehicle Traveling to Work Location

THE ACCIDENT: On September 24, 2003 a Caltrans survey van was traveling in the #1 lane of I-15 near Hesperia. The right rear tire failed causing the driver of the van to lose control and swerve across all north-bound lanes. The van then slid off the pavement hit a concrete v-ditch and overturned approximately 3 times before coming to rest in an upright position. The driver and passenger (seated in the front passenger seat) both received minor injuries. The metal cage inside the van not only prevented debris and equipment from entering the passenger area, it also helped to keep roof from collapsing on the occupants.

CONCLUSIONS: The cause of the tire failure is unknown at this time and is still under investigation. Frequently, when tires fail prematurely the tires are misidentified as recapped tires. The tires on the survey van in this accident were not recapped tires. Recapped tires are usually as safe as new tires.

RECOMMENDATIONS: Proper tire maintenance is necessary for maximum tire life and safety. The best way to avoid premature tire failure is to follow proper tire maintenance procedures:

  • Check tire pressure regularly (at least once a month), including the spare.
  • Inspect tires for uneven wear patterns on the tread, cracks, foreign objects or other signs of wear or trauma. Remove bits of glass and other foreign objects wedged in the tread.
  • Make sure your tire valves have valve caps.
  • Check tire pressure before going on a long trip.
  • Do not overload your vehicle. Check the tire information placard or owners manual for the maximum recommended load for the vehicle.
  • If you are towing a trailer, remember that some of the weight of the loaded trailer is transferred to the towing vehicle.

For further information on tire safety visit or call 1-888-327-4236.



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