The driver of an SUV, identified as Abdias Layva, was tragically killed in a head-on collision on the Pierce Elevated Tuesday morning after a pickup truck jumped a barrier wall after losing its wheel. According to police, the pickup truck’s wheel sheared off of the axel due to apparent “metal fatigue.”
KTRK quotes a mechanic who believes that the culprit was the wheel bearing: “‘The bearing will fail if you drive it long enough . . . It will tear all this metal up[.] There should be grinding noises. The brakes should be softer than normal. There’s a lot of warnings that go on before the bearing actually fails[.]'”
Police called it a “‘freak accident,'” but tragedies like this are often preventable. Pickup trucks are supposed to be built to last, not to have their wheels abruptly fall off on the highway. If a truck is making odd noises, it should usually be checked out by a mechanic to make sure it is safe.
Every time we get on the road, we trust our lives not only to our own cars, but the cars of everyone else on the road. Automakers owe us a responsibility to build cars and trucks that will not catastrophically fail and cause a crash due to ordinary wear and tear. Each of us owes a responsibility to keep our cars and trucks in good repair for the same reason. We owe that responsibility not only to ourselves, but to everyone else on the road who could be endangered by a failure of our car’s tires, wheels, steering, or brakes.