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Wheel spikes or other ornaments may contribute to crashes

Dangerous or distracting ornamentation on motor vehicles can contribute to accidents. At the same time, drivers on California roads are known to enjoy the freedom of expression available via custom decals and paint jobs, after-market accessories and rims. There is some debate in the legal community regarding whether and at what point such customization constitutes a safety hazard.

One area of debate surrounds semi-truck lug nut covers that look like spikes. They protrude out from the rims on tractor-trailers traveling on California highways, and some say they have an unnecessarily intimidating look. Many of them are made of plastic, but some are made of aluminum or other metals, and so they may actually make a crash more harmful.

Such spikes may be especially dangerous to pedestrians, bicyclists and motorcyclists. Almost half of bicyclists and a quarter of pedestrians who are killed in collisions with large trucks impact the side of the truck first. In a situation where a bicyclist makes contact with a semi-truck's wheel spikes, he or she may suffer greater injuries than would have occurred if the truck had been equipped with standard lug nuts. In a car and semi-truck crash case from 2012, the plaintiff said the truck had spikes that could be intimidating or distracting to other drivers on the hubs of its front wheels. At least one state, Hawaii, has passed laws to regulate wheel spikes. The laws prohibit any wheel ornamentation that extends four inches or more beyond the rim and may cause property damage or injury.

Individuals who have been injured in truck accidents may be entitled to recover for lost wages, pain and suffering, medical expenses or other damages. An attorney with experience in personal injury law may be able to help by negotiating with at-fault parties or their insurers. An attorney may be able to draft and file a civil complaint or argue on behalf of the client during court proceedings.

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Andrew E. Bakos & Associates, PC
1420 River Park Drive
STE 110
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