Truck drivers and companies must regularly maintain their vehicles for safe driving and cargo loading. Trucks can cause serious injuries and death without adequate inspection and maintenance.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA)’s Large Truck Crash Causation Study found that truck issues caused 10% of all truck accidents. The study cited mechanical issues, such as brake malfunctions, as part of the issue.
A truck accident attorney can determine if negligent maintenance caused your accident with a truck. They can find out the parties responsible for the maintenance and inspection of the truck and hold them liable for any injuries you sustained in the accident.
- Brake Problems
Fully functional brakes are crucial since trucks need a space of at least two football fields to brake completely. Mechanical failures in trucks most commonly occur due to brake failures. The FMCSA reported brake issues accounted for 29% of the risk factors associated with truck accidents.
Brakes can become unresponsive due to worn brake linings and fluid leaks. Other brake problems may result from these factors:
- Air Supply Damage
Air pressure is crucial to the functioning of truck brakes. An air leak or other damage to the supply line may prevent the truck’s brakes from working correctly.
Overheating brakes due to dragging or over-application can cause the brake drums to expand. This expansion pushes the rest of the brake system out of alignment, reducing the truck’s ability to brake.
- Worn Tires and Blowouts
Truck tires can blow out due to cuts and punctures in the sidewalls. If the tread on a tire is thinning, a driver can find truck steering and handling more difficult, especially on rough roads and during inclement weather. Other issues may include:
- Overinflated or Underinflated Tires
Maintaining the correct tire inflation pressure to carry cargo and travel safely is critical. Insufficient air pressure or overloaded tires can cause excessive heat buildup that can cause the tire to blow out.
- Defective Tires
Tires may have design and mechanical defects that can trigger an accident. Truck companies must monitor tires to address any recalls and replace them when necessary.
Improperly loaded cargo can fall off the back of a truck, causing it to tip, jackknife, or crash into another vehicle. Although only 4% of truck accidents involved cargo, improperly loaded cargo had the highest relative risk at 56.3%.
The cargo loader might not distribute it evenly across the truck to prevent it from tipping. Other causes of improper cargo loading can come from the following:
- Worn Out Tie-Downs
Tie-downs are necessary to prevent the cargo from rolling while the truck is in transit. However, the worn stitching and grime on these straps may indicate that they may snap when put under pressure from the cargo’s weight and size.
- Excess Cargo Weight
Tractor trailers can only weigh up to the federal limit of 80,000 pounds when fully loaded, and truck drivers often drive at high speeds to arrive at their destinations on time. Taking on cargo that exceeds federal load limits can pose a challenge to drivers, increasing the likelihood of tire blowouts and worn brakes, resulting in a rollover.
- Lack of Maintenance
Truck drivers must inspect their vehicles before and after their long-haul trips. The FMCSA also holds trucking companies accountable for systematic inspections, maintenance, and repairs. This means truck companies have a duty to ensure their vehicles are in safe working condition. However, the following factors can lead to companies neglecting to maintain their vehicles.
- Pressure to Deliver Goods on Time
The demands of the trucking industry to deliver goods can lead to maintenance oversight. The American Trucking Association reports that freight tonnage will reach 20.6 billion tons in 2030, an increase of 25.6% from the 2019 forecast of 16.4 billion tons. This increase in freight tonnage can lead companies to require more drivers on the road and decrease the ability to maintain all vehicles.
- Outsourcing Maintenance or Repairs
Trucking companies also outsource inspections, repairs, and maintenance to subcontractors. They may feel the pressure to repair trucks quickly so the drivers can return to the road to meet their deadlines.
Our experienced truck accident attorneys at Catalano Law can review your case if a mechanical failure caused your truck accident. Our attorneys can investigate what caused the collision and determine who is responsible to get you the financial compensation you deserve for your injuries.
Call our law office today, and let us help you pursue justice.