Brake failure is a leading cause of truck accidents that occur due to mechanical failure. Air brakes require careful maintenance to keep them functioning properly and are responsible for stopping this huge force of up to 80,000 pounds that is traveling at highway speed. Yet as most truck accident lawyers are aware, many big rigs on today’s highways are traveling with brakes that are not being maintained.
The numbers of violations handed out by safety inspectors during roadside inspections bares evidence to this, as does the number of big rig accidents related to failure to be able to stop. In an effort to help commercial carriers reduce brake-related collisions, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance offers the following important advice about maintenance and keeping these heavy machines safer with effective stopping systems.
Brake safety is a prime concern for overall big rig safety and the prevention of truck accidents. The brakes used on these heavy vehicles are not “set it and forget it” mechanical components, as they require constant observation and maintenance. Based on the way that brakes are adjusted and the load they withstand every day, they can wear quickly and come out of adjustment reducing their effectiveness. Parts frequently become damaged and even crack from heavy routine use.
When brakes are out of adjustment or improperly installed, the load on them and the chance for premature failure increases even more, along with the risk of big rig accidents. To prevent dangerous problems, trucking safety organizations like the CVSA stress the critical need for better brake maintenance and awareness of maintenance issues.
Identifying Unsafe Brake Issues
An essential part of providing proper maintenance is understanding the problems that can occur and how to prevent them. This includes things like understanding how air brakes work and how moisture in the system can affect them. It also means knowing when new pads, drums and rotors are required to prevent dangerous overheating. Safety advocates and truck accident lawyers also point out how this includes understanding that automatic slack adjusters should never be relied upon to continually compensate for brakes that are out of adjustment.
Improving Safety Through Education
To increase understanding about the importance of brake safety, the CVSA hosts a yearly outreach campaign called Brake Safety Week. The focus of this campaign is to increase awareness and enforcement of stopping safety among commercial carriers and truck drivers and help prevent big rig accidents caused by malfunction and failure.
Throughout the program week, brake safety inspections will take place in many locations, giving commercial carriers a chance to see firsthand if their maintenance is inadequate and what must be done to increase the safety of their vehicles. Although many big rigs are pulled off the road during the yearly outreach due to maintenance issues, the goal of this program is education. By helping carriers and drivers identify brake problems and correct them, the CVSA hopes to reduce issues that lead to safety violations, fines, and dangerous truck accidents.
In a continued effort to reduce heavy truck accidents, commercial carriers and drivers must understand the critical importance of maintenance and avoid unsafe practices. Sadly, truck accident lawyers see the aftermath of big rig accidents caused by mechanical issues like brake failure every day. When it comes to vehicle maintenance and providing proper brake care and maintenance, every trucking company must do their part to increase road safety and reduce accidents with tractor trailers!
Hildebrand & Wilson, LLP
Robert W. Hildebrand, Attorney at Law
J. Daniel Wilson, Attorney at Law
7830 Broadway, Suite 122
Pearland TX 77581
Phone: (281) 408-2190