CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Federal records show loose wheels cause roughly three crashes on US roads every day on average. There's a simple, inexpensive way to prevent those crashes, but few large vehicles use the safety devices.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools has firsthand experience.
A tire came off a school bus in 2017, as 26 Garinger High School students were boarding the bus. The loose tire caused a crash. CMS blamed the situation on a technician who failed to properly tighten a lug nut.
As a result of the failure, the district placed wheel check torque indicators on its buses. They go on every lug nut. If the green pointers are all lined up in one direction, the nut is tight. If one is pointing the wrong way, attention is needed. A driver can check them easily before getting behind the wheel.
While common in Canada, those safety indicators are rarely found on the road in the United States. Without them, people's lives are at risk.
Julieanna Shedrawy's family and friends know that all too well.
“Julieanna, that morning, was on her way to work," her friend Oswald Morgan said. "She was really doing what we all do, something very routine. And the next moment she was gone.”
The 49-year-old Georgia mother of two died after a loose wheel flew off a pick-up truck on the other side of the highway and crushed the roof of her car.
“If Julieanna’s tragedy could save lives, I think that would be the most amazing and incredible thing that could actually happen,” Morgan said.