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Air Brake Failure in Big Trucks –

Home » Air Brake Failure in Big Trucks –
October 23, 2017
Edward Smith








Air Brake Failure in Big Trucks –

I’m Ed Smith, a Fresno truck accident lawyer. At the end of March, Navistar, the owner of International trucks, recalled 2,700 trucks due to a problem with maintaining the pressure in the brake system. According to Navistar, the mounting bracket for the air dryer could fracture, causing a leak in air pressure. This would cause the brakes to malfunction, increasing the stopping distance. Navistar said it would replace the bracket on affected models.

Air Brakes: An Introduction

Air brakes are commonly used on large trucks, trailers and buses. Drivers are required to become familiar with air brake systems, and it is featured as a separate course during training. Over the years, safety features have been added that decrease the possibility the brakes will fail. This is important since when a vehicle capable of weighing 80,000 pounds takes longer to stop or is unable to stop, causing catastrophic injuries to those in smaller passenger vehicles. Normally, with a full cargo load and working brakes, the distance from the time a driver sees a stopped vehicle in his path to the time the truck grinds to a halt is the length of two football fields.

Air Tanks

The air tanks are filled with compressed air by the compressor. The compressor is attached to the engine. The flow of compressed air into the cylinder causes the brake to work. Since air is used instead of fluid, multiple units can be stopped by the driver. An emergency braking system is used on any vehicle with air brakes in the event of a loss of brake power and is mandated by CFR 393.43. Two emergency brake alternate systems are required, one of which activates automatically, while the other is a manual override operated by the driver.

Check Valves

Check valves are also present. The valves are used to check for a loss of air if brake failure occurs or if a problem exists between the compressor and the tanks providing the compressed air. If that happens, the valve prevents air from leaving the system. Sometimes, particles are caught in the check valves, with the outcome of the valves or the brakes could fail.

Air Compressors

This important part of the air brake system usually pumps much more air than is needed. The air is used not only for brakes but also air bags, air suspension and even windshield wipers. The air is pumped into storage tanks, and any line break could result in lower compressed air. Checking the lines is important.

Warning Devices

If the pressure in the air brake system falls to 60 pounds, a warning device, complete with a buzzer and a flasher, activates. Below this pressure the parking and emergency brakes will not be able to be used. At this point, the driver, alert to the situation, must stop the vehicle. In a quiet atmosphere, an air leak should be audible to the driver.


If a driver fails to check his air brake system or ignores a low pressure warning, he or she is putting themselves and other drivers in danger. Bus drivers are also putting passengers riding the bus in harm’s way. This negligent act can result in significant traumatic injuries or death. The financial and physical toll this takes is often catastrophic.

Fresno Truck Accident Lawyer

I’m Ed Smith, a Fresno truck accident lawyer. When truck drivers fail to maintain and inspect their vehicle or heed recall notices, they are acting negligently, and this can result in serious injuries to other drivers. If you or your loved one has been injured or killed by a negligent truck driver, you may need to talk to an experienced injury lawyer. I’m here 24/7 to receive your call at (559) 377-7676 or at (800) 404-5400. You can contact me online too.

I have helped many Californians and those living in Fresno through wrongful deaths and traumatic brain injuries as well as amputation injuries due to truck and bus accidents.

I belong to a group of top-notch trial attorneys who have garnered $1 million or over for clients. Check out the forum’s website –

I established and own it so that previous, current and future clients and interested parties can investigate personal injury topics.

You might wish to learn more about my practice. Do that by checking to see what past clients have to say about working with us on:

The verdicts and settlements list on my website gives you an idea of what I’ve done for previous clients.

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