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How a tire's speed rating may conflict with a state's speed limit

If you've ever been on a road trip and crossed several state lines, then you've probably noticed that each state looks at speed limits a little differently. That's because rural states oftentimes don't have the traffic density found in more populated states. This is one of the many reasons why California has implemented 70 mph speed limits on only certain freeways, while maintaining the 65 mph limit for the rest of the state. The idea is that by limiting the speed a vehicle can travel, we can reduce the risk of a serious or fatal crash down the road.

But according to an investigation conducted by the Associated Press, state agencies should look beyond traffic density and consider the speed limits tire manufacturer's place on tires when determining speed limits for roadways. As the Associated Press investigation points out, driving at speeds higher than what tire manufacturers recommend could result in a tire blowout and an accident.

Tire speeds probably aren't something that most people consider, but it should be a concern for truck drivers. That's because most tires for commercial trucks have a speed limit of 75 mph. Travelling at speeds beyond this for extended periods of time can actually cause the tire to heat up, compromising the tire's integrity, which may eventually lead to a blowout. This not only puts the truck driver at risk of an accident, it puts other drivers at risk as well.

Whether state agencies are aware of it or not, raising speed limits for truck drivers beyond the recommended tire limits can actually create a major safety hazard. Thankfully, California has not raised its 55 mph limit for truck drivers in our state. The hope now is that our state will hold fast to this decision so as to ensure that speed does not compromise the integrity of truck tires and cause future blowouts that could lead to crashes.

Source: The California Department of Transportation, "California Highways with 70 MPH Speed Limits," Accessed April 23, 2015

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