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Underinflated tires a danger to everyone | Washington State Patrol

Large truck tire debris can be a hazard to everyone on the roadway. The Washington State Patrol (WSP) responds to numerous calls where vehicles are damaged by tire debris.  Large pieces of debris cause lane blockage and create traffic flow problems.  This increases the safety hazard for responders having to clear the roadway.  Recovered tire debris also cost state tax payers thousands of dollars each year in disposal fees.

Studies have shown that most tire and scrap rubber debris on the roadways is caused by underinflated tires. Underinflated tires are more susceptible to cuts and flats than properly maintained tires.

Incidents of tire failure seem to increase with warmer weather.  In response to the approaching summer months, Commercial Vehicle Officers and Troopers in Pierce and Thurston Counties will be looking for trucks that have defective and underinflated tires during an emphasis scheduled for May 31, 2012.  During the emphasis officers will be educating drivers and taking appropriate enforcement when needed. Truck tires are considered unsafe and out-of-service if found to be 50% underinflated.  Tires discovered unsafe will have to be repaired or replaced before the vehicle will be allowed to proceed.

It takes on average 20 minutes to check and adjust tire inflation pressure on an 18-wheel tractor-trailer. Tire pressure should be checked regularly, at least once a week for truck tires and at least once a month for passenger car tires.  Tire pressure should always be checked when a tire is "cold" - before a vehicle is driven or driven less than one mile.

The WSP continues to strive to make Washington roadways the safest in the nation.

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