A study sponsored by Department of Transportation(DOT) found that 29.4% of all large truck crashes involved brake failure, brakes out of adjustment, or other brake-related issues. If you are injured in a truck accident where brake or tire failure either caused or contributed to the accident, it is important to speak to an experienced truck accident attorney.
Defective Truck Brakes
Brakes in tractor-trailers are different than those systems found in passenger vehicles. While the differences are many, one main difference is that many tractor trailers have air brake systems in which the various components work together to create and maintain a supply of compressed air that is used to transmit pressure from the drivers control to the service brake. The air brake systems can include the service brake system, the parking brake system, and the emergency brake system. When truck brakes malfunction, blame may be placed on several different individuals or business entities including:
– The Brake Manufacturer: The federal government has imposed strict regulations on the safety of truck braking systems. A truck must be able to: develop a certain braking force (based on a percentage of the truck’s weight), decelerate to a stop from 20 miles per hour at a rate specific to its size, and meet the automatic brake adjustment system requirements.
If truck brakes do not meet these federal standards, a victim of a trucking accident may have a claim against the manufacturer. Usually, these claims come in two forms: (1) the manufacturer did not design the brakes properly or (2) the brakes were correctly designed, but some defect occurred in the manufacturing process.
– Drivers and Trucking Companies: In some instances, actions of the driver or trucking company can cause the brakes to fail.
– Depowering the front brakes. Some owner-operator truck drivers deliberately unhook or depower the front brakes on the truck and rely only upon the brakes of the trailer and downshifting to stop or slow the vehicle. They do this in order to minimize the expense of tire and brake wear and replacement costs.
– Improper loading. If the truck load is not evenly distributed, the brakes may overheat and malfunction.
Trucking Accidents Caused by Tire Issues
There are many different causes of truck tire failure including:
- Defective tires. In some cases, a tire manufacturer produces and sells a defective truck tire. Those defective products may or may not be recalled by the federal government.
- Failure to maintain tires. A trucking company may not maintain the tires properly. In other cases, truck drivers may use tires that fail to meet the minimum requirements or mix bias and radial tires on the same axle.
- Failure to perform pre-trip tire inspections. Sometimes a trucking accident is caused by a failed tire that the driver should have noticed in the required pre-trip inspection of the truck. Improper tire pressure can lead to deterioration and eventual catastrophic failure. A tire that is worn or damaged may fail as a blowout and result in loss of control of the vehicle.
Call an Experienced Truck Accident Attorney
If you or a loved one are involved in an accident with a large truck, where brake or truck failure may have caused or contributed toward the accident, it is important to speak to a skilled truck accident attorney. At McEwen & Kestner our team of highly skilled truck accident lawyers has successfully helped many truck accident victims. Please call our office today at 800-732-3070 or email [email protected]