On Wednesday, October 16th, a woman who was walking her dog in Washington D.C. was struck and killed by a passing motorist. Police investigators determined the vehicle’s old tire lacked sufficient tread and was therefore responsible for the accident.
The driver, Mohamed-Kareem Mohamed, 21, was charged with reckless driving and unsafe vehicle operation linked to insufficient tire tread. Mohamed was driving a 1998 BMW Sedan just before 9:40am when he lost control of the car. Authorities say a tire on the BMW had insufficient tread, causing the car to lose traction and spin out of control on the wet pavement.
The pedestrian, 58-year-old Zenaida Ines Jimenez, was transported to a nearby hospital, where she later died from her injuries. Her dog was not injured in the accident.
In many states with safety inspections, including Maryland and the District of Columbia, minimal tire tread is required to pass inspection. Some states will also cite drivers for operating on worn or otherwise unsafe tires. The driver bears the responsibility of maintaining his/her vehicle in safe operating condition, depending upon state law.
By comparison, Florida does not have a state inspection and state laws do not hold drivers to such standards, though many safety advocates feel that such laws should be introduced.
Responsible drivers should replace worn tires when the tread wear bars are showing. Riding on worn tires greatly reduces overall traction, particularly in wet/rainy conditions. A vehicle may enter a skid under normal driving conditions on worn tires. In cases where tires with adequate tread separate (causing a blowout) due to a manufacturer’s defect, the tire maker may be held liable for any injuries that result if an accident occurs.