Mechanical issues are a major contributor to many truck accidents that happen on the highways. In order for 80,000-pound tractor trailers to safely travel our nation’s highways, those vehicles must receive frequent maintenance and a high quality of mechanical care. Unfortunately, most truck accident lawyers understand that this is not always the case, especially concerning the brakes.
Brake issues are a leading cause of mechanical failure that results in serious and sometimes deadly truck accidents. They are the main component, along with steering, that drivers use to maintain control of these large, heavy vehicles. The system that slows down a loaded tractor trailer undergoes continuous strain in its attempt fo slow and stop as much as 40 tons of weight, all traveling at high speeds with great momentum.
It is apparent to traffic safety advocates and truck accident lawyers that the braking system should receive extra attention to avoid mechanical failure, as many big rigs on the roads are traveling with faulty ones that can fail during operation.
It takes strong brakes to stop 80,000 pounds traveling at high speeds. Today’s tractor trailers almost universally use air brakes, which are much stronger and more reliable than the hydraulic systems used in smaller vehicles. On the other hand, air systems are more complicated than hydraulic ones and contain more mechanical parts. Air braking systems also require careful adjustment and more frequent maintenance to work properly. When not properly adjusted, they do not function properly, fail to slow the vehicle quickly enough, or sometimes fail to work at all. When drivers cannot anticipate the proper response from their brakes, serious truck accidents can result.
Adjustment and Maintenance
The safe operation of heavy tractor trailers is partially dependent on essential maintenance and correct adjustment of these stopping devices. Even though truck drivers themselves can set brake pressure and should frequently check to assure that pressure is remaining constant, a poorly adjusted braking system can negatively affected the braking system. In other to provide accurate pressure and the expected response, the whole air system must be free of leaks, properly adjusted, and correctly functioning.
Setting the pressure alone is not enough to prevent dangerous mechanical failures. The entire air system should be examined and adjusted by an experienced technician to ensure that driver adjustments resulted in the right response from the vehicle. This fact is known by truck accident lawyers, recognized by commercial carriers and drivers, and used as a motivator to reduce big rig accidents.
Evidenced by the number of wrecks caused by an inability to stop, truck accident lawyers know that the braking system is one of the most critical, yet frequently ignored mechanical systems on many tractor trailers. By improving the frequency and quality of maintenance, crash numbers will decline. Many deadly truck accidents can be avoided if commercial carrier companies and truck drivers pay more attention to the total brake system and not just adjust pressure.
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