Many New Jersey drivers have probably noticed at least one big rig or tractor trailer sporting spiked wheel ornaments. These ornaments have received critical attention due to their connection with accident injuries and accident risks. Trucking companies, truck drivers and the government are taking notice.
The spiked ornaments may be made out of a variety of materials, including plastic, aluminum and other metals. They present a directly higher risk of accidental injury. According to the statistics, about a quarter of the pedestrians and half of the bicyclists killed by a large truck first impact the side of the truck. Spiked wheel ornaments, especially if they are made of metal, only exacerbate the risk of injury or death from side impacts.
Regardless of the material, wheel spikes also change the perception of the truck in negative ways. Even if they are not directly the cause of an accident or injury, they are often an indirect contributor. Other drivers may be distracted or intimidated by the spikes, causing them to drive in unsafe ways or to lose control of their vehicle, resulting in an accident that would otherwise be avoided. Many truck companies also dislike the perception of aggression and intimidation surrounding spike ornaments. Some companies have banned the use of such ornaments on their fleets so that they better project a focus on safe driving and courtesy. The state of Hawaii has banned dangerous wheels, which would include spiked ornaments and certain types of hubcaps or lug nuts.
When a big rig accident occurs, they are many considerations to determine negligence and damages. If the truck itself presented a safety risk or contributed to the accident due to factors such as improperly secured loads or dangerous wheel ornaments, then the driver or company could be at fault. An attorney can often assist injured victims in seeking compensation for the losses that they have sustained.