Trucking Accidents and Brake Problems
According to a study conducted by The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), brake problems are a causal factor in many trucking accidents. If a truck’s braking system isn’t working properly, it may take longer for the vehicle to slow down. This can increase the risk of serious auto accidents that cause injury or death.
At the law firm of Gary A. Zucker & Associates, we have experience representing those that have been injured in trucking accidents. In this blog post, we discuss how brake problems can increase the risk of truck accidents. To schedule a review of your trucking accident case, contact our Brooklyn, NY practice today.
The Large Truck Crash Causation Study
The FMCSA and NHTSA’s Large Truck Crash Causation Study (LTCCS) used a nationally representative sample of 120,000 truck crashes that happened between April of 2001 and December of 2003. To be included, trucks had a gross vehicle weight rating over 10,000 pounds, and one injury or fatality occurred.
The sample included 963 crashes, each of which was assigned a weight so national estimates could be calculated. The study found that brake problems were the most common associated factor in large trucking accidents. The estimates showed that 41,000 of the large trucks involved in accidents during the 33-month study period would have had brake problems; this accounts for 29 percent of the 141,000 trucks that were involved in accidents.
The next top associated factors included the driver traveling too fast for conditions, the driver being unfamiliar with roadway, and roadway problems.
The Dangers of Improperly Maintain Brakes
There are many ways in which the brakes can fail. Total brake failure is rare. It occurs when the brakes do not work at all. This can occur as a result of water getting into the brake system as a result of a leak.
A brake imbalance can cause instability when braking, braking fade, and braking fires. This can increase the risk of jackknifing and trailer swing-outs.
Other problems include:
- Improperly adjusted breaks
- Oil contamination
- Worn brake components
- Missing brake components
- Improper alignment of brake linings
- Sticking brake calipers
- Improperly maintained brake fluids
- Incomplete friction surface
- Unequal pressure in tires
- Overly worn tires
- Overheated brakes
- Improperly loaded trucks
These issues can all contribute to reduced braking power over time.
Who Is Liable?
When a poorly functioning or defective braking system contributes to a truck accident, we will work to determine which person or party is liable for the injury.
Truck drivers must complete a vehicle inspection every time they drive the semi-truck. Failure to complete or properly complete inspections can lead to some liability on the truck driver’s part.
If the mechanic improperly repaired, replaced, or serviced the vehicle, the mechanic may be liable for damages.
If the truck owner or company failed to complete regular inspections, maintenance, or repairs, the company may be liable.
The loading company may be the negligent party if the workers did not properly load the truck.
If a defective braking system resulted in the accident, the manufacturer can be held responsible for any damages that occurred.
We will get all brake maintenance and inspection documentation on the truck to help us determine which party is liable in your specific case.
To schedule a case review, contact Gary A. Zucker & Associates.