Ontario has taken an important first step in reducing deaths and injuries due to improper installation and servicing of commercial truck wheels. Beginning Nov. 1, most of those working on commercial vehicle tires and wheels in the province must pass an eight-hour certification course covering such areas as inspection, selection and proper installation of wheel components.
The Ontario program, undertaken in response to a string of highway accidents involving runaway truck wheels, is considered the first of its kind.
However, it has attracted attention from other Canadian provinces and the International Tire and Rubber Association in Louisville, Ky., and should serve as a model for certification programs elsewhere.
The ITRA, which recently widened its membership to include commercial tire dealers as well as retreaders and scrap tire processors, plans to offer voluntary certification for commercial tire service technicians in the not-too-distant future.
Hopefully, efforts such as those of the ITRA and Ontario to certify the knowledge and ability of those servicing commercial truck tires and wheels will increase highway and worker safety all across North America.
Bandag Inc. should be commended for sharing its newly acquired technology for detecting potential zipper ruptures before such explosions can occur.
The new system, available to the industry at large, is the result of a joint R&D effort between the Muscatine, Iowa, retreading supplier and equipment developer Laser Technology Inc. of Norristown, Pa.
In less than two minutes, the system scans both sidewalls looking for and identifying any areas in the tire's steel radial cords that are likely to shatter explosively.
Slated for market by mid-November, the LTI Sidewall Inspection System should help reduce the number of injuries resulting from zipper explosions.