A Windsor woman suffered several injuries after her car was struck by a tractor-trailer tire that separated from a truck traveling in the opposite direction on Highway 401.
The woman was driving westbound on Highway 401 when an eastbound truck lost a tire that struck her vehicle near Bell River Road.
She said she saw a large dark object coming at her vehicle that blocked her line of view as it came directly at her, crashed into her windshield and ripped off part of her roof. She slammed on the brakes and veered to the right, where she came to a stop after hitting a guard rail. She was later informed that she had been struck by a tractor-trailer tire.
The woman was transported to Leamington District Memorial Hospital where she received treatment for lacerations and cuts to her face and hand. She received stitches and three sutures in her hand.
Ontario Provincial Police is investigating the accident but has not stated if any charges will be laid.
A Dangerous Problem
Wheel separations have been a recurring problem on Ontario roads. After a significant increase in wheel separation incidents in the 1990s, the government introduced higher fines for commercial trucks that lose wheels. Although that change significantly decreased the frequency of wheel-offs, these incidents still occur.
According to the Ontario Ministry of Transportation, there were 148 incidents of wheel separations two years ago.
Information from the Infrastructure Health & Safety Association notes just how dangerous a wheel separation can be. According to the association, a set of dual wheels with a brake drum can weigh more than 300 kg. When combined with the speed at which the vehicle is traveling, that object can cause serious, fatal accidents.
Legal Liability for Wheel Separation Accidents
Under Ontario law, a wheel separation from a commercial vehicle is considered to be a serious offense carrying absolute liability. The fine for this type of infraction can range from $2,000 to $50,000.
The law requires daily inspections by drivers and operators. Most often a wheel separation is caused by axle problems, fastening failures or hub separations. If a wheel separation occurs, it is likely a result of poor maintenance procedures.
Vehicle technicians are required to receive specialized training for wheel installations, and there should be on-road inspections by specially trained police officers and ministry enforcement officers.
In the event that poor maintenance caused a wheel separation accident, the victim may be entitled to compensation through a personal injury lawsuit. If you have been injured or lost a loved one in this type of accident, the experienced Windsor truck accident barristers at Greg Monforton & Partners can help determine your legal options.
Call (866) 320-4770 for a free case evaluation.