Properly working brakes on any vehicle are critical to safety. However, a large commercial truck, which averages 80,000 pounds fully loaded, needs at least the length of two football fields to come to a complete stop. This is why truck accidents cause such catastrophic injuries or even death—all that force is simply too much for a passenger vehicle to handle. 

If you or someone you loved suffered the intensity of a large truck accident due to brake failure, the legal team of Peterson & Associates, P.C. feel it’s important you know what solutions are available for your financial recovery. 

What Causes Brake Failure in Commercial Vehicles?

Under Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations, commercial trucks must be “operative”—meaning properly functioning at all times. Specific FMCSA brake mandates are required for different types of commercial vehicles, based on the truck’s size, the year the truck was manufactured, and the type of vehicle. Violations of the operative brake rules put everyone on the road at risk. 

The top causes of truck brake failure include:

  • Lack of brake maintenance
  • Truck operator error, such as riding the brakes on long downhill grades
  • Moisture gathered in the brake system
  • Cracked or brittle brake hoses
  • Rusted master brake cylinder
  • Overheated brake pads
  • Brake fluid leaks
  • Improperly installed brakes
  • Faulty brake suspensions
  • Manufacturer defects

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, a North American non-profit organization, sponsors Operation Airbrake, with the goal of “reducing the number of highway crashes caused by faulty braking systems on commercial motor vehicles…and educating drivers, mechanics, owner-operators and others on the importance of proper brake inspection, maintenance, and operation.” Annually, it works with multiple government agencies in Canada, Mexico, and the United States to hold random roadside inspections of tens of thousands of commercial vehicles—and each year, approximately 10–15 percent of those are found with brake problems. 

What Parties May Be Liable in Your Truck Accident

Based on the various causes of failing brake systems, it’s likely that if you experience a devastating truck accident, your injury attorney may seek evidence that proves more than one party is at fault. For example, if a fleet company tries to save money by not following FMCSA regulations on brake inspection and regular maintenance, it might be held responsible for your economic and non-economic damages. If further investigation reveals that a manufacturer produced defective products, it might also be a defendant in your truck accident case.

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