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Truck Brake Failure Is Common and Dangerous

 Accident with Truck

Truck Brake Failure Is Common and Dangerous

I’m Ed Smith, a Carmichael truck accident lawyer. Mechanical failure is a common reason truck accidents occur. One of the most common problems associated with truck accidents is brake failure. Problems with truck brakes stem from either manufacturer defects, trucker negligence, failure to recall defective brakes and lack of inspection and maintenance.

Incidence of Brake Failure in Big Trucks

Overall, the number of trucks involved in accidents due to brake-related problems, including brake failure and brakes that were not adjusted properly as well as other issues, totaled 41,000 or 29.4 percent of all crashes, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. The frequency of two-vehicle accidents between large trucks and passenger vehicles is 27 percent.

Who Is at Fault for Brake Failures?

There are layers of responsibility for a truck accident due to brake failure. These are:

  • Driver and truck owner related actions: This includes actions such as depowering the front brakes.
  • Manufacturer defects: The manufacturer is responsible for well-designed and manufactured brakes and brake components.
  • Failure to maintain the brakes properly: This usually involves poor work done by a mechanic.  
  • Loading the truck improperly: When this happens, the brakes will overheat due to unequal distribution of cargo.

Maintenance Is a Primary Cause of Brake Failure

Trucking companies and independent truck owners rely on a truck mechanic to make sure the brakes meet federal brake regulation standards. All motor carriers are responsible for knowing and meeting the qualifications for a brake inspection to prevent truck accidents. They must ensure that brakes are able to fulfill their purpose such as service, parking and emergency brakes. Failure to perform routine checks and repairs result in faulty brakes.

Requirements for Truck Brake Maintenance

All trucking companies and independent truck owners must keep maintenance logs, detailing the maintenance scheduled and performed. In addition, a driver is expected to inspect his or her truck each day. Such inspections include:

Making sure no braking components are loose

  • Inspecting the brake shoes as to function and form
  • Checking to see if air release can be heard coming from the chamber housing the brakes

Front Brake Depowering Leading to Brake Failure

Another cause of truck brake failure occurs when the trucker depowers or removes/unhinges the front brakes, relying on downshifting and trailer brakes to stop. This is done to keep the front brakes from wearing and lower the cost of front brake replacement. It also lowers tire costs since it decreases tire wear and tear on the tires and brakes.

Manufacturer Defects

There are specific standards that truck brake manufacturers must meet during the design and manufacture of the brakes. When brake failure is traced back to the manufacturer, a product liability claim may be made.

Recalls by Manufacturers

Whether a brake manufacturer determines that certain brakes or brake components are defective or the federal government makes this determination, the brakes or components must be recalled. If an accident occurs due to brake failure, it is important to see if manufacturer defects were found. A list of brake recalls is maintained at the Department of Transportation website. On occasion, the manufacturer may recall the brakes, however, the owner might not have them replaced. In this case the owner would be liable.

Carmichael Truck Accident Lawyer

I’m Ed Smith, a Carmichael truck accident lawyer. When you or a member of your family  has been injured because of truck brake failure, give me a phone call at (916) 921-6400 for my free and friendly advice. I also have a toll free number and if you are outside the area use (800) 404-5400.

You can read my practice reviews and comments made by former clients and some of my peers at Yelp, Google and the legal review site Avvo.

Since 1982, I have worked as an injury lawyer to help Californians and residents of Carmichael to recover the compensation they deserve for traumatic injury such as brain trauma. In cases where a family member died due to negligence by another individual, company or manufacturer, I have filed  claims for wrongful death. Some cases and their results are found on Past Verdicts & Settlements.

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