As tire manufacturers enter the age of the Internet of Things, some are making smart tires equipped with sensors that allow the consumer to view information regarding the tire on applications downloaded to their smart phones. These tires contain small sensors in their sidewalls that do not impact tire performance. The sensors can track the tire’s temperature, the tire’s inflation pressure, the tire’s mileage and even the tire’s load capacity. Not only the consumer can view this information, but so can service technicians maintaining the vehicle and tire.
Continue Reading Passenger Car Tires Drive into the Internet of Things

Since 2008, tire pressure monitoring systems (TPMSs) have been mandatory in passenger cars, which include SUVs. As early as 2006, however, 30 percent of new passenger cars were already equipped with TPMSs. A TPMS alerts the driver if a tire is underinflated. A “telltale” or “lantern” activates on the vehicle’s dashboard display indicating that one of the tires is underinflated.
Continue Reading Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems: When the Bubble Bursts

104113897Automotive industry experts claim that we will be sharing the road with totally autonomous cars within the next five years. The benefits of driverless cars are obvious. People on average spend about two hours per day in a car commuting to and from work. With ever-increasing demands on our time, allowing us to use that commute to be productive instead of focusing on the operation of the vehicle presents a huge advantage. More importantly, automation is expected to increase safety on the highways by eliminating the human error component from accidents. It’s no wonder that numerous automakers and start-up companies are developing driverless cars or aftermarket automation systems. However, the prospect of this huge step forward for the automotive industry does not come without concerns, especially with regard to product liability.
Continue Reading The Rise of Driverless Cars

tractor-trailer-tireThe National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is pushing for new regulations requiring tractor-trailer trucks to be equipped with speed-limiting devices. This regulation, if passed, will impact not only the trucking industry but also the manufacturers of tractor-trailer trucks and tires. The intended purpose of this new regulation is to reduce the risk of tire disablement. NHTSA is reacting to recent Associated Press reports that many states have speed limits that are higher than truck tires’ speed ratings. Some states have speed limits of 75, 80 or 85 mph. Most truck tires are speed rated for 75 mph. There are, however, truck tires available with speed ratings in the low 80s.

What are “speed ratings”?
A speed rating indicates that a tire is capable of operating at a certain speed for a specific duration under normal inflation and load conditions. The speed rating is determined by operating a tire under a specific load and inflation pressure for specified durations that are set forth in federal regulations.

Continue Reading Can the Feds Slow Down Truckers with Mandatory Speed-Limiting Devices?

cars-on-fire137810326TSA recent decision handed down by the Connecticut Supreme Court may significantly impact the way product liability lawsuits are litigated within the state of Connecticut in the future. In a products liability case, the “malfunction doctrine” permits the plaintiff to argue at trial that a product possessed a defect without offering direct evidence of a defect, but rather only circumstantial evidence of the alleged defect. Under the malfunction doctrine a plaintiff is permitted to argue that a product  was defective due to an unexpected event that would not have occurred if the product functioned properly without the necessity of specifying the part or component that was actually defective. A common use of the malfunctions doctrine is in product liability cases arising out of a fire. In a fire case, a plaintiff will typically argue that all causes for the fire have been ruled out except for a malfunction within the product despite no direct evidence of a specific defect.

Continue Reading The Connecticut Supreme Court restricts the plaintiff’s ability to rely on the “Malfunction Doctrine” to support a Product Liability claim