Motor vehicle accidents involving large trucks are extremely dangerous, and unfortunately, all too common. One of the most frequent causes of these crashes is a failure of the truck’s braking system. Sometimes, these brake failures occur as a result of a design or manufacturing defect. In other cases, however, brakes can fail due to actions taken—or not taken—by the driver or trucking company that owns the vehicle.
How can a driver or trucking company cause a brake failure on a truck? The following are three examples:
Why would a driver ever depower the front brakes on the vehicle? Unfortunately, some do so in order to minimize the expense of tire and brake wear as well as brake replacement costs. The brakes can be unhooked or depowered and the driver can then rely only upon the brakes of the trailer, as well as downshifting, in order to stop or slow the vehicle. This reduces the wear and tear on the brakes. Unfortunately, it is at the expense of the safety of other motorists.
Under federal law, trucking companies have obligations to keep certain maintenance records that shows when truck maintenance was performed and the maintenance was done according to schedule. Drivers are also required to perform and complete a daily pre-trip inspection report that contains information regarding the condition of their vehicle and its equipment. Drivers are required to make sure that their brake shoes are functioning properly and are not missing or have broken mechanical parts. They are also required to check for loose brake components, as well as listen for any air leaks in the brake chamber. Leaky brake chambers can indicate problems with the brake system.
When a driver does not load his or her truck properly, the weight of the load is not evenly distributed. As a result, the brakes may overheat and subsequently malfunction.
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