Large truck crashes can be caused by a wide variety of factors. From driver error to mechanical issues to adverse road conditions, these serious accidents injure and kill Americans on the road every day. One common cause of these crashes is a problem with the brakes. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, braking capability can be a major factor in truck accidents as these large, heavy vehicles can require up to 40 percent greater stopping distance than other types of vehicles. When brakes are not performing as they should, this distance can increase, and it can be difficult for truck drivers to stop in time to prevent an accident.
Common Causes of Truck Brake Problems in Alaska
The ability to stop is especially important for a large truck. The damage inflicted by semi-trucks in crashes can be especially severe, and it’s more often the passengers of the smaller vehicles who suffer injury or are killed when accidents occur. Brake problems can result from a variety of factors. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued more than 463,000 citations in 2017 to truck drivers for brake issues ranging from general problems to complete failure. Some of the common problems include:
- Clamp or roto-chamber brakes out of adjustment
- Air brakes out of adjustment
- Malfunctioning antilock braking system
- Brake hose kinked or chaffing
- Inoperative brakes
How Brake Problems Develop in Large Trucks
FMCSA has specific rules about large truck maintenance; truckers are required to inspect and repair their systems at regular intervals. Despite these regulations, brakes still fall into disrepair, often because of two main behaviors:
- Failure to maintain. Whether on purpose or because of a lack of understanding of the system, drivers may fail to inspect and maintain their braking systems. Problems can arise quickly, and the pressure of heavy loads and long trips can lead to a brake failure. When the brakes are not routinely examined for safety, accidents can happen.
- Improper maintenance. In some cases, drivers do inspect their trucks, and they may attempt to address any issues. However, these braking systems can be complex, and drivers and even some technicians who are not properly trained or do not have a full understanding of the brake systems may not adequately repair the brakes. It is important that only qualified service people provide repairs.
In some cases, the brakes may be functioning properly, but the driver fails to operate them properly, often due to poor training.
An Experienced Alaska Attorney Can Help After an Accident
Brake failures of any kind can result in rear-end accidents, truck jackknife, rollovers, and other dangerous crashes. If you or someone you love has suffered injuries or been killed in an accident with a truck because of faulty brakes, you may be eligible to file a legal claim against the driver, trucking company, or parts manufacturer to obtain compensation that can help you and your family recover as fully as possible. Anchorage attorney Ben Crittenden has helped other victims just like you, and he understands what you are going through. Call him today or fill out the contact form on this page to reach him directly and learn more about your options.