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Causes of 18-wheeler Crashes- Brake Failure

While any number of factors can cause an 18-wheeler accident– mechanical and human errors top the list. Among the mechanical errors, brake failure ranks among the most frequent causes; in fact, nearly 30% of all 18-wheeler crashes involve some sort of brake failure (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration).

Brake Requirements

According to Nolo, “Law for All,” in order to comply with federal regulations, tractor-trailers must:

  • have a certain braking force (based on a percentage of the truck’s weight)
  • be able to decelerate to a stop from 20 miles per hour at a rate specific to the truck’s size
  • meet the automatic brake adjustment system requirements

Who is to Blame?

According to crashforensics.com, spontaneous brake failure is an extremely rare event.

“Alleged brake failures usually are not failures at all but performance problems stemming from deficient maintenance.”

Because truck drivers works alongside loading companies, leasing companies, and manufacturers, there are several parties that could be to blame for faulty brakes. Information below provided by Nolo, “Law for All.”

The driver– The driver of the vehicle is responsible for ensuring the truck has proper brake settings. Sometimes truck drivers purposefully depower the front brakes and rely on the trailer brakes and downshifting, which can increase the risk of an accident.

The company that loaded the truck– Improper loading and overloading can cause the brakes to malfunction.

The party responsible for maintaining the brakes– This is often the owner-operator of the truck, but it may also be a leasing company. This person is responsible for conducting mandatory inspections, keeping maintenance logs, and complying with federal recalls.

The brake manufacturer– When a brake malfunction is the fault of the manufacturer, it often becomes a product liability issue. This can mean (1) the manufacturer did not design the brakes properly or (2) the brakes were correctly designed, but some defect occurred in the manufacturing process failure to meet federal standards.

An Experienced Trucking Accident Attorney

Thomas J. Henry have handled a multitude of 18-wheeler accidents over the past two decades and continue to handle many of the largest 18-wheeler accident cases throughout the United States. Whether the company is small or large, our success is not an accident; it is because we understand how trucking companies operate.

Contact our offices– Thomas J. Henry are available to respond to trucking accidents at any hour, day or night. Our lawyers understand that the immediate acquisition, or acquiring, of evidence is paramount to understanding how the accident occurred. Remember, your choice does matter.

Contact Us for a Free Case Review


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