Following a letter from the Tire Retread Information Bureau, Florida investigators have found that a regrooved tire, and not a retread, played a part in a dump truck crash last month that left three people dead.
TRIB had written a letter to the St. Petersburg Times defending retreads after an article reporting on the accident quoted Florida Highway Patrol officials as saying that a blown front tire on the truck had been recapped, which is not considered safe on a steer axle.
That letter went unpublished but triggered further investigation into the accident, according to TRIB Managing Director Harvey Brodsky.
The highway patrol then discovered that the front tire on the steer axle had been regrooved, not retreaded. The newspaper then published a follow-up article on the accident.
The front tire on the dump truck blew while the truck was heading northbound on I-275, according to the St. Petersburg Times report. The explosion caused the vehicle to veer across the median and crash into a 2001 Ford van heading southbound.
The accident killed the truck driver, Joseph Brown, and two Georgia men in the van. Cleveland Ferguson, the truck's owner, has been cited for owning an unsafe vehicle.
In a second letter to the Times, Mr. Brodsky pointed out that ``retreaded tires are safely used on all types of trucks'' and that ``there are no laws-in Florida or anywhere else-prohibiting the use of retreaded tires on the steer axles of trucks.''