An inspection conducted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) found braking-system problems in 32.7 percent of large trucks with pre-crash violations. Properly functioning braking systems in large trucks are crucial to keeping U.S. roadways safe, and failure to adequately maintain brake systems and fix faulty, malfunctioning, or damaged brakes can lead to serious injury and death.
Common Braking System Problems
Carefully inspecting brakes and brake lines on large trucks is a necessary component of proper maintenance. Failure to do so can lead to catastrophic consequences. Most commonly, truck accidents caused by malfunctioning brakes can be linked to:
- Inoperable or defective brakes system
- Problems in the brake hoses such as air or fluid leaks
- Outdated braking systems
- Improperly adjusted brakes
- Missing or broken parts in the brake shoes
- Improper loading
How Braking System Failures Occur
In many cases, either the truck driver, the carrier company, the brake manufacturer, or the truck owner can be to blame for truck accidents related to faulty braking systems. Negligent parties may cause accidents and injury by failing to:
- Maintain brake systems properly. Drivers and carrier companies must consistently inspect brake pads and lines for any sign of damage, overuse, or malfunction. Failing to do so can lead to serious problems on the road.
- Load the truck correctly. If a truck has been loaded improperly, its balance can be thrown off. When attempting to bring an improperly loaded truck to a sudden stop, the brakes may not be able to function as intended—creating potential for a wreck.
- Obey posted speed limits. Brakes work properly when drivers follow posted speed limits. However, driving above speed limits and then trying to bring a large truck to a stop can lead to brake failures.
- Abide by weight limits. Loading a truck above federal or state weight limits can put undue pressure on braking systems. In this case, it may be impossible for the brakes to handle such a heavy load when slowing or coming to a stop.
- Keep front brakes engaged. Some drivers and owners unhook the front brakes to save money on pads and shoes, relying solely on downshifting and the rear brakes for all slowing and stopping. However, this poses serious danger to everyone on the road.
Truck Accident Lawyers You Can Trust
If you’ve been involved in an accident with a large truck and suspect brake system failure, the experienced legal team at Duffy & Feemster can help. Since 1950, we’ve advocated for fair compensation for our clients. To get started on your case, fill out the online contact form on our website.