Poorly maintained tires are a leading cause in Atlanta car accidents. In the context of a commercial motor vehicle, the standards are generally set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, which provide that no commercial motor vehicle shall be operated on any tire that: (1) has body ply or belt material exposed through the tread or sidewall; (2) has any tread or sidewall separation; (3) is flat or has an audible leak, or has a cut which exposes the ply or belt material. 40 CFR 393.75. In terms of the actual depth on the tires themselves, it ranges between 2/32 of an inch to 4/32 of an inch, depending upon where the tie bars, humps, and fillets are located. Additionally, under federal regulations, there are tire loading restrictions. As a general rule, a motor carrier is not allowed to operate a commercial vehicle that carries a weight greater than that marked on the sidewall of the tire.
For personal vehicles, OCGA 40-8-74 is applicable for all vehicles operated on Georgia highways. This section requires that every solid rubber tire which is actually on a vehicle to have rubber on its ensure traction service of at least 1 inch above the edge. In terms of what is a permissible depth on the tire themselves, Georgia law requires all tires to have not less than 2/32 of an inch tread in all major grooves. Similar to the federal regulations, Georgia law also requires that the tire be free from any bums, bulges, or separations. Also note that if the tire indicates that it is not for highway use or unsafe for highway use, it would be against the law to use that tire on the highways in Georgia. For example, if the potential Defendant was driving from the Road Atlanta racetrack in a track car, which is located on Braselton, Georgia, back to their home and causes a wreck on I-85, there is a very good chance that you would find that the tires on the car are not rated for highway use.
There are also specific Georgia rules and laws that are applicable in tire defect cases. The Georgia Department of Labor, Consumer Protection Division, has a good section on its website on what to look for, including nails or other objects in the tires, tread wear being uneven or on only one edge, over and under inflation, and wear bars. According to the Consumer Protection Division, once the tread is less than 1/16 of an inch, the tire should be replaced! You will note that the tread depth recommended by the Consumer Protection Division is actually inconsistent with what is allowed under Georgia law.
If you have been involved in an accident in the Atlanta area or throughout the State of Georgia, contact Ponton Law today at 404-418-8507. You need an attorney who understands the ins and outs of these types of cases in order to maximize your recovery. The discovery of this type of information by a through lawyer can put “heat” on the defense which will lead to higher recovery.