Police suspect that tire failure may have led to a serious single-vehicle accident Wednesday afternoon in Fulton, Missouri. Authorities say that a 61-year-old Fulton man lost control of his vehicle, first running into the median, then crossing back through the highway before crashing into the ditch. The single-vehicle wreck occurred on Highway 54.

Fortuitously,–perhaps–an ambulance from Callaway County was traveling behind the man’s car and the crew was already on scene to begin providing emergency treatment in the immediate aftermath of the wreck. The driver suffered serious, but undisclosed, injuries.

A helicopter was called in to transport the accident victim to University Hospital in Columbia, Missouri, for treatment. While details about the accident have not been fully investigated, preliminary reports indicate that the driver-side front tire may have failed in leading to the injury accident.

Tire failure is not uncommon in serious injury accidents. While the days of the inner-tube are gone on passenger vehicles, a number of issues today can still lead to tire failure.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration looked deeply into tire-related factors in car accidents several years ago. The study followed the realization that more than 78,000 crashes in 2003 evolved from tire or wheel related issues on passenger vehicles. That year, more than 400 people died and 10,275 people suffered non-fatal injuries in accidents involving an issue with the wheels on passenger vehicles.

Many Columbia, Missouri, area residents may be aware of issues that have arisen in recent years involving manufacturing or design defects related to tires intended to be used on passenger vehicles. Obviously, many different factors can cause a tire to fail, including worn tires, a lack of tire pressure, degradation of the tire, or defects within the tire itself.

Source: KRCG 13 Connect Mid-Missouri, “Driver airlifted to hospital after highway crash,” Sept., 25, 2013