Peterbilt is recalling more than 2,000 trucks because they reach speeds greater than their tires are built to handle. The move by Peterbilt in the U.S. and Canada raises questions about the safety of thousands of other big trucks on U.S. roads. Peterbilt is recalling certain tractors from 2009 to 2016 because they can exceed 75 miles per hour, even though the maximum speed their Michelin tires can handle is 65 mph. Such trucks mainly haul automobiles. The tires on the front or steer axle can fail and cause a crash.
Media outlets are reporting that dealers will reprogram computers so the trucks can’t go over 65.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is encouraging other truck makers with similar risks to fix the problem. But at this time, the agency is not seeking more recalls. NHTSA began investigating Michelin’s 22.5” diameter XZA tires in 2014, and one of the findings was travelling at speeds higher that the tire can handle can lead to tire failure.
In any crash involving a Peterbilt truck manufactured since 2009, such tire failure should be considered as a possible cause, keeping in mind that the recommended maximum speed for certain Michelin tires is only 65 mph. If the driver was exceeding 65, he was violating that safety recommendation, even if 65 was within the posted speed limit.