What if Brake Failure Caused My Truck Accident?
Proper working braking systems are essential to the safety of road users. Due to the massive weight of commercial vehicles and cargo loads, faulty brakes can lead to catastrophic truck accidents. This happens more often than you may expect.
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), over 30 percent of all truck accidents are caused by brake problems. Even though the FMCSA requires all commercial motor vehicles to have regular brake inspections at least once per year – with drivers themselves conducting their inspections before every trip – accidents caused by brake issues still occur.
Here are some of the main reasons that truck brakes fail:
- Driver error: Truck drivers require special training and experience to operate an air brake system correctly. If the driver is inexperienced or careless, they may not use the proper technique with the brakes and may overheat them, causing them to fail.
- Poor maintenance: The truck driver or trucking company may fail to perform the necessary maintenance and inspections to keep the brakes working correctly. This can lead to excessive brake wear or brake failure.
- Overloaded cargo: A trucking company or the company in charge of loading the truck’s cargo may put more weight into the trailer than it can hold or is safely allowed.
- Manufacture or design defects: Although rare, mainly because brake and vehicle manufacturers have many restrictions when designing braking systems, it is possible for manufacturer defects in the brakes themselves that can lead to failure.
When a truck accident occurs, determining who is liable for the crash may fall to many different parties and require extensive investigation. If you have been injured in a truck accident, regardless of what caused it, you should consider hiring a truck accident lawyer to help determine who is responsible for your injuries. Some of the most common entities to be held liable for truck accidents caused by braking problems include:
- The owner or operator of the truck who failed to maintain or inspect the brakes.
- The driver of the truck did not inspect the brakes regularly or failed to use proper braking techniques.
- The manufacturer of the brakes or who installed them.
- The shipping company improperly loaded the cargo.
What Are the Common Types of Truck Brake Problems?
Most modern commercial trucks use a complex air brake system that uses compressed air to slow trucks down. The most common types of brake problems include:
- Overheating: A truck’s brakes can overheat due to intense heat and friction. There are specific driving techniques a driver must implement to prevent this from happening, as overheated brakes reduce the life of the brake and can decrease stopping power.
- Imbalances: When the braking system is imbalanced, different brakes on different wheels may use more force than others, possibly leading to a jackknife accident.
- Misalignment: To help with slowing down and stopping, brake shoes push against the lining and slow the wheel down. However, brake shoes can be misaligned and worn unevenly, causing a reduction in stopping power.
- Residue in reservoirs: Fluids can get into the air reservoirs of the braking system, causing corrosion and brake failure.
- Faulty compressors: Air brakes have compressors that may become faulty.
- Damaged brake tubes: Rubber hoses used as brake lines may kink or chafe, leading to poor braking performance.
Washington DC Truck Accident Lawyers at the Law Offices of Duane O. King Help Accident Victims Injured in Truck Accidents
If you have been involved in a truck accident due to brake failure, contact our Washington DC truck accident lawyers at the Law Offices of Duane O. King. Call us at 202-331-1963 or fill out our online form for a free consultation. Located in Washington, D.C., Alexandria, and Falls Church, Virginia, we serve clients in Prince George’s County, including Laurel, Beltsville, Adelphi, College Park, Greenbelt, Mitchellville, Woodmore, Greater Upper Marlboro, Springdale, Largo, Bowie, Capitol Heights, District Heights, Forestville, Suitland, Seat Pleasant, Clinton, Oxon Hill, Temple Hills, and Fort Washington.