U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Introduction to Tire Forensics

NCJ Number
Law and Order Volume: 40 Issue: 2 Dated: (February 1992) Pages: 17-19
W B Bowes
Date Published
3 pages
When tire failure is suspected to be a factor in a traffic accident, the investigating officer must be able to conduct a thorough and accurate examination of the tire.
To correctly document tire failure, the investigator must identify the specific defect and its origin, establish the reason for the defect, describe the events leading to the failure, and establish the proximate cause and injuries to the accident victims. There are three types of contact damage to tires: road surface, other parts of the vehicle, and external objects. There are four major types of tire abnormality -- small hole, cut or slit, burst, or blowout -- which have different shapes and locations that must be described accurately. All tires have the same essential construction consisting of tread, shoulder, sidewall, and bead that can all affect tire performance. Drag factors and hydroplaning are two other aspects of potential tire failure that investigators must understand.