Sunday, February 5, 2012

Stop the Deadly Retreads

Catherine was feeling safe and happy last Friday night, after a long day on the road. She was cruising down Interstate 95 doing a legal 70, looking forward to arriving home to her beloved husband (me). Suddenly a large truck tire retread appeared in the middle of her lane. Too late to swerve and too much close-following traffic to stab the brake, she hit it. Thank goodness she was OK! But, this is the SECOND time this has happened to us and damaged the plastic shield, air dam, spoiler, or whatever it’s called under our flimsy front bumper. Anyway, she pulled off an exit and into an Arby’s parking lot. She crawled around on the ground tying up the remaining pieces of plastic panels so they wouldn’t drag, and made it home safely.

Big dangerous retreads are all over the highways everywhere and I’m ##^&**#* sick and tired of them. I can only infer that there are no regulations forbidding retreads or shedding of them. If there is any regulation pertaining to this, enforcement must be meager with no significant fines levied. That is a travesty. In addition to the two above incidents we have had other close calls when we’ve witnessed a flying retread close to us or had some retread crumbs hit our windshield. Fortunately we’ve never been injured in any of these incidents but we have sustained several hundred dollars damage to our car. Of course you have to think twice about making a claim on your collision insurance for this. A couple of no-fault claims and your insurance company drops you like a hot potato or jacks your rates up.

There is something called the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. From it’s name, it sounds like it ought to regulate this. I don’t know why it’s not doing its job. My Republican friends will of course say it’s guvmint, therefore intrusive, incompetent, and inefficient, so it should have its budget cut or be eliminated. What a crock! I’d speculate that it’s either already underfunded to do what needs to be done, or more likely has been captured by the powerful motor freight industry lobby to do their own bidding.

Has anyone else had bad experiences with the forest of retreads that trucks liberally sprinkle on our highways? Do you know what laws and regulations exist for retreads and the shedding of them? If so, please comment below and tell your story.