When a Truck’s Braking System Malfunctions, Injuries and Deaths are Most Likely to Follow

Compared to passenger cars or light pickup trucks which would require about 316 feet before coming to a full stop, an 18-wheeler will travel about 525 feet before it comes to a full halt; this, by the way, is speaking of a truck’s braking system that is in good working condition. Now, if a defect in a truck’s braking capability (a defective truck brake is a major factor in truck crashes) can result to severe injuries and deaths, imagine what crashes would result to if, besides the defective breaking system, the driver operating the truck is also alcohol-impaired, fatigued, sleepy or distracted.

A truck’s longer stopping distance, its size and weight, as well as errors committed by drivers, are factors that make these huge vehicles threats on the road, especially to regular passenger cars. It is also due to these factors why the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires that a truck’s braking system should be able to ensure the safe and reliable stopping of this commercial motor vehicle (the FMCSA is an agency within the US Department of Transportation that is tasked to regulate the trucking industry in the US).

The most commonly identified causes of brake failure include:

  • Thinning or wearing out of brake pads
  • Brakes overheating
  • Brakes getting suffused with grease or oil
  • Brakes out of adjustment
  • Use of substandard parts in the manufacture of brake parts
  • Disconnected, damaged, or punctured hydraulic fluid lines
  • Poor air pressure
  • Failure of brakes and/or brake components to meet the set standard on construction, installation and maintenance
  • Worn out tires

When a truck’s braking system malfunctions, it can be the due to the negligence of:

  • The manufacturer, who may have failed to comply with the standard set under the law;
  • The driver, who may have failed to perform a pre-trip inspection of his/her truck’s braking
    performance;
  • The employer, who may be guilty of depowering the truck’s front brakes, relying instead on the brakes
    of the trailer, in order to minimize wearing out of tires and brakes; and,
  • Those who failed to evenly distribute the truck’s load,or failed to conduct regular maintain checks on
    the brakes.

On its website, the Sampson Law Firm speaks of the serious injuries that victims of truck accidents can suffer from. Besides the injuries, however, there is also the likelihood that these victims will suffer mounting financial costs, as well as be deprived by many insurance companies of the full compensation that they deserve.


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