Did you know that inspectors removed 6,710 commercial vehicles from the road in 2021?
Tire problems were the second most common cause of the removal, accounting for 18.6% of all violations. Tires are a crucial part of your commercial truck’s suspension system. They’re responsible for transmitting the capabilities of braking, steering, and driving to the surface of the road.
Unfortunately, truck tires wear down and become dangerous over time. As a commercial truck driver or owner, you need to adhere to truck tire requirements. If you aren’t familiar with the tire requirements related to a semi-truck in Houston, Texas, below is a comprehensive guide.
What Are Tire Requirements for Commercial Semi-Trucks in Houston, Texas?
Maintaining your truck tires goes beyond a quick check before you head out on the road. The following are specific requirements to be aware of when checking your semi-truck tires.
Tread Depth Requirements
Tread depth refers to the vertical dimensions from the bottom of the tire’s groove to the top of the tire rubber. Tire tread depth not only affects the grip on the road but also the braking capability and acceleration. It can also influence fuel economy.
Here are the semi-truck tire tread guidelines you should follow:Tread Requirements by Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)
The FMCSA holds truck drivers to a high standard of upkeep. The tread depth of steer tires or any tire on the front wheels should be 4/32 of an inch. The other tires need to have a minimum depth of 2/32 of an inch.
If your truck tires aren’t in compliance with the FMCSA standard, it will get a citation but continue traveling. While a citation is serious, your truck won’t be forced off the road.Tread Requirements by Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA)
According to CVSA, the steer tires should have a minimum depth of tread of 2/32 of an inch while the other tires need a minimum depth of 1/32 of an inch. When your truck doesn’t follow the CVSA standard, you get a citation. Also, your truck will be out of operation until you fix the problem.
Flat Tires and Inflation Pressure Requirements
A flat tire makes your truck inoperable. Based on the FMCSA tire regulations, your truck should not operate on a tire with a cold inflation pressure lower than that stated for the load being transported.
Since heat increases tire air pressure, it can lead to erroneous readings and under-inflated tires on the road. As a result, you can have flat tires over time. To get accurate readings, deduct the inflation buildup factor from the measured inflation pressure.
Use continuous tire inflation systems and tire pressure monitoring systems to avoid any flat tire violations. Also, pay attention to the load weight during each trip to keep your tires inflated properly.
Exposed Belt Material Requirements
Your tires shouldn’t be damaged in any way. The FMCSA states that a semi-truck in Houston, Texas is inoperable if the tire has the following:
- Has exposed body ply or belt material through the sidewall or tread
- Has any sidewall or tread separation
- Has an audible leak
- Has a large cut that exposes the belt material or ply
Importance of Adhering to the Commercial Truck Tire Requirements
Following commercial truck tire requirements is mandatory in Texas. There are several reasons you should follow the tire requirements and stay on top of maintenance. Here are some:
Well-balanced tires with good pressure and tread depth will help your truck move smoothly on the road. This can help improve efficiency and performance for long journeys. It will also save you money on fuel.
Commercial trucks do a lot of work hauling freight around the country. With regular maintenance checks, semi truckers can stay ahead of looming tire problems. This way you can prolong the life of your truck and avoid costly repairs.
Apart from moving freight, a semi trucker’s priority is to practice safe driving habits. Well-maintained tires give the trucker a good grip on the road and the ability to brake faster. It can also prevent tire blowouts and accident lawsuits.
Dangers of a Truck Tire Blowout
Blowouts are among the most dangerous events for semi-truck drivers. While they can be caused by road hazards, blowouts are usually a result of tire safety violations. The main consequences of a tire blowout include:
Loss of Control
The force of the explosion and the instability of the truck may cause the truck driver to swerve and lose control. You can also tip over, leading to catastrophic results.
When a truck tire blows out, the force of the burst rips it apart. This can send chunks of rubber flying in every direction. The flying debris can hit other motorists and pedestrians, resulting in serious damages or injuries.
During a tire blowup, the semi-truck can open and release the cargo all over the road. This creates hazards for other motorists.
Panic on the Road
Tire blowouts are often very loud, frightening other road users. What’s more, seeing a truck go out of control can cause panic among other motorists. Some may try to brake or swerve irrationally, creating more chaos on the road.
The best way to avoid tire blowouts is proper maintenance. Trucking firms must follow the truck tire safety requirements by maintaining a regular maintenance schedule.
Other Trucking Requirements You Need to Know
Apart from the tire requirements, truck drivers have to comply with state and federal regulations related to the truck’s load, driving hours, breaks, and more. Here are the rules semi-truckers must follow.
Working Time Requirements
Truck drivers must adhere to federal hours-of-service regulations. These rules set strict limits on the time a semi trucker can drive. Required duty limits for a trucker includes:14-Hour Day-to-Day Driving Limit
Truck drivers can only be on duty for 14 hours at maximum, but they can only drive for up to 11 of those hours. Once they’re done, they should get off-duty for 10 consecutive hours.30-Minute Rest Breaks
A driver must take a 30-minute break after driving for 8 uninterrupted hours. The break is enough for a quick nap. Weekly Maximum Driving Limits
It depends on the trucking company. If the company is in operation each day of the week, the drivers should only be on duty for 70 hours on any 8 successive days. Drivers can only be on duty 60 hours during any 7 successive days in case the company doesn’t operate daily.34-Hour Restart
Truckers must have at least 34 hours off before they start another 7- to 8-day stretch. Use the break for stretching and recovery for the best results.
Most modern trucks have electronic logbooks that track their driving time, stops, breaks, and more. In case of a semi-truck accident, details of the logbook can be shared with the police.
Semi truckers must be medically qualified to operate any commercial truck. They should also carry proof of medical qualification on their person at all times. The information should also be on their driving record for DOT officers or the police to access.
Additionally, they should renew their medical certificate before the previous certificate expires.
No Rusty Tire Rims
Rusty tire rims are one of the specific points checked during roadside inspections. If a semi-truck has rusty tire rims, the inspector may note and ticket the truck driver.
Drug and Alcohol Tests
No truck driver should operate a vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol. While the average motorist does not get random drug and alcohol testing, truckers must submit to them. This can help reduce the number of truck/alcohol-related truck crashes.
If the trucker refuses to test, they may face immediate removal from any transportation activities, according to federal law.
Truckers cannot pick up hitchhikers while hauling loads. This is because hitchhikers may be a danger or distraction to the truck driver and are not authorized to be in the truck or near the cargo.
No Mobile Device Usage
The FMSCA banned mobile phone usage for all commercial truck drivers. This means they cannot use any handheld device to email, text, or even use a navigation system while driving.
The FMCSA requires that a commercial truck speak and read English well enough. This can help improve communication with the general public and an understanding of highway traffic signs. They can also make entries on reports and respond to any official inquiries.
No Loud Music
Although truck drivers can listen to music while driving, they can’t play loud music as it’s a distraction. They should keep the volume of the radio down.
Routine Truck Inspections and Maintenance
Trucks have a lot of operating parts and accessories. Trucking companies should supervise the inspection, maintenance, and repair of any defective parts before they put the trucks back on the road. This not only allows for road safety but also ensures the trucks are efficient.
Insurance Minimum Requirements
Trucking companies need to have at least $750,000 in liability insurance. This will come in handy in case of an accident.
Consult Our Semi-Truck Accident Lawyer in Houston, Texas
Failure to comply with road safety regulations related to a semi-truck in Houston, Texas can lead to fatal accidents. If you’ve been injured in commercial truck accidents, look no further than O’Hara Law Firm. Our personal injury attorneys can help you get the maximum compensation you deserve.
Reach out today to schedule a free consultation today.