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Amber Alert

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Danger of Flying Tires

A wheel flew off a semi-truck near Milwaukee and crashed into the windshield of a minivan, and it was caught on video.

A tanker truck lost two tires on Interstate 94 Monday. The tires rolled across several lanes of traffic and over the median, eventually hitting an oncoming van.

The driver of the minivan was treated at a hospital and released. Four passengers were unharmed.

This wasn't the first time a tire fell from a large truck and endangered other drivers on the road.

"These tires weigh several hundred pounds each," Sergeant Mark Abrahamson of the Wisconsin State Patrol noted, "so if the tire were to leave a vehicle, it would, it could cause serious injuries or fatalities if not major property damage."

Late last week in South Minneapolis, two tires fell off a garbage truck going south on 35W. One of them went bouncing over the median barrier and smashed into the windshield of a red truck, killing the 56-year-old driver.

A similar incident in Milwaukee last November killed a 55-year-old doctor. That wheel came off a tractor-trailer heading south on Interstate 43.

The National Transportation Safety Board hasn't compiled national data on the number of accidents caused by wheel separations since 1992, but it said then that there were between 750 and 1,050 accidents a year.

That's a small fraction of the nearly 350,000 accidents involving trucks in the U.S. every year.

Source Continues