Commercial trucks outweigh passenger cars in terms of both length and weight. As a result, in collisions involving smaller cars, those in the smaller vehicle often suffer the most. Because stopping a huge semi-truck requires so much effort, all trucks must have fully functional braking systems. It isn’t always the case, though.
Accordant to Transport Topics, air brake systems can fail on their own, resulting in major accidents and injuries or deaths, but they can also fail due to mistakes made by the driver. Younger, less experienced truck drivers are involved in many brake failure-related truck incidents. Drivers must be well-trained and knowledgeable on how to avoid brake failure difficulties for today’s trucking businesses. When air brake problems are to blame for a truck accident, a truck accident lawyer in Pittsburgh might be of assistance so you can learn all your legal options pertaining to your case.
Common Reasons for Semi-truck Brake Failures:
When an air brake system malfunctions, it might cause brake failure for a semi-truck driver. Air brakes require a constant supply of compressed air to function correctly and remain open while a trucker is driving. Brakes can lock up if the system fails and the compressed air cannot get through.
The overuse of brakes by truck drivers going down steep slopes is another typical cause of air brake failure. Truckers who rely on their brakes excessively risk overheating, failure, and possibly on-the-road fire. The hazards of using the brakes for an extended time when driving downhill are well known to experienced, well-trained truck drivers. It’s possible that newer, less experienced truck drivers can avoid this problem better than experienced ones. Truck drivers with greater expertise can also use the truck’s jake brake to slow it down. The semi-jake truck’s brake uses engine power instead of brakes to slow it down.
Brake failure is frighteningly widespread in the trucking sector, accounting for approximately 30 percent of all truck accidents. Driver education on brake failure prevention might therefore save many lives each year.
Who is Liable When the Air Brakes Fail?
Trucks are fitted with air brakes to stop their vehicles, which use compressed air to bring them to a halt. In terms of complexity, air brakes are a multi-component system. An air compressor is used to fill reservoirs with compressed air. The engine cooling system can air cool the compressor linked to the engine through gears and may have its oil supply or use engine oil as a source of oil.
The air storage tanks are pumped with the help of an air compressor governor. When the pressure in the tank increases over a specific point, the governor turns off the air pump until the tank pressure drops below that point. Depending on the vehicle model, the number of air storage tanks varies.
Air brakes can safely stop trucks if they are well-maintained and correctly employed. Trucks seldom have a complete brake failure because of the numerous fail-safe devices in place to guard against this possibility. When the conventional braking system fails, the truck’s emergency braking system kicks in, allowing the driver to stop the truck even if it takes a longer distance.
To make matters more complicated, because trucks are driven for such a long time and distance, there are several chances for things to go wrong with the truck’s brakes if they aren’t thoroughly checked out. The air brakes might be outdated, misaligned, or mechanically defective.
Truck brakes can overheat if the driver of a large tractor-trailer uses them for an extended amount of time, driving downhill, or suddenly stops at high speeds. Trucks that are poorly or overloaded may overheat, which can lead to malfunction.
If brakes are not correctly calibrated, the axles can have greater braking force than the trailer and “jackknife.” Multiple automobiles are slammed by a trailer that swings out of the way, often at a 90-degree angle.
If you’re driving a passenger car and are involved in a jackknifing accident, you might be one of many people who are seriously injured. As a result, you can sue the driver under doctrines of negligence, vicarious liability, respondeat superior, negligent hiring or supervision, and negligent entrustment, in addition to suing the driver directly.
What Are the Reasons for the Failure of Air Brakes?
Commercial semi-truck brake failure may be dangerous because of the vehicle’s size and weight. Although properly maintained vehicle brakes should seldom fail, brake failure-related incidents result in numerous injuries and deaths each year. What causes this? The following are the main five causes behind this:
- The front brakes aren’t being used. Some owner-operators deactivate the tractor’s brakes to save money on maintenance and tire wear. As a result, the trailer brakes have to bear the whole weight of stopping the entire rig. Downshifting can also be utilized to increase the stopping power of the braking system. The rig’s capacity to slow down and stop is hampered since the tractor does not assist with the brakes.
- Inadequate care for the brakes. A DOT brake inspection can catch a trucking company that isn’t doing its maintenance well in time to prevent an accident that could have been prevented. When the vehicle is driven normally, its braking shortcomings will allow it to stop, but when heavy braking is necessary, it will not.
- The trailer is overloaded. Even with strong brakes, a truck hauling too much weight necessitates long stopping distances. It puts the public’s safety at risk, especially when braking hard is required. Towing a heavily laden trailer puts additional strain on the braking system, increasing the risk of it failing, especially if it is not properly maintained in the meanwhile.
- Downhill brake overheating. The brakes can become overheated and lose some of their stopping power if the driver is untrained or utilizes poor braking techniques on downhills. The truck’s brakes eventually fail to regulate the vehicle’s speed. Inadequate brake maintenance might also be a factor.
- Unbalance in the brakes. When one set of brakes works harder than the other, you have a brake imbalance. It might happen if mechanical components are incompatible or if the pneumatic system provides different pressure to different brakes. With such an unbalanced load, the brakes may lock up, which might cause the car to slide or jackknife. When driving downhill, brake imbalance can cause brakes to overheat.
When a brake failure or lack of stopping effectiveness causes a catastrophic truck accident, it’s critical to contact a commercial truck accident lawyer. The affected truck can be secured for an inspection by a truck accident lawyer. A truck accident lawyer can also help you decide which papers, such as medical records, should be kept on hand while you recuperate from your injuries.
After an injury due to a truck accident caused by defective or improperly maintained brakes, you may be eligible for compensation from various sources, and only an experienced attorney or law firm can help you maximize your recovery.
Have you been a victim in a truck accident because someone else did not do their job properly? The truck accident attorneys at Pittsburgh Injury Lawyers, P.C. can help.