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Morton Law Offices, Chartered

Failure to Maintain Truck Brakes Can Lead to Catastrophic Crashes

runaway truck ramp

One of the most terrifying accidents can be a massive big-rig truck bearing down on a motorist at a high speed when the truck brakes malfunction. This can lead to occupants of passenger vehicles suffering devastating injuries such as traumatic brain injury, spinal cord damage, paralysis, amputation, internal organ damage, and death. Unfortunately, crashes caused by faulty or poorly maintained brakes are all too common and easily preventable if truckers and truck companies took truck and brake maintenance more seriously.

Four Reasons Faulty and Poorly Maintained Brakes Cause Accidents

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has set strict rules on the safety of truck braking systems. A truck is required to:

  • Develop a braking force based on the truck’s percentage of weight
  • Decelerate to a complete stop from 20 miles per hour at a rate determined by its size
  • Meet the requirements for automatic brake adjustment systems

Not only do truckers and truck companies fail to comply with FMCSA regulations, but they also often take actions that make their truck braking systems unsafe. Common ways brakes can cause accidents include:

  • Depowering front brakes. As unbelievable as it may seem, truck companies often deliberately unhook or depower trucks’ front brakes in an effort to reduce the cost of replacing or maintaining the brakes and tires. This leaves the truck with only the trailer brakes and downshifting to slow down the truck.
  • Failing to inspect brakes. Truckers are required by FMCSA rules to inspect their brakes before any trip and complete a report. The inspection should include checking the brake shoes to be certain they function properly and do not have missing or broken parts, inspecting all brake components for loose parts, and listening for air leaks in the brake chamber. If problems are discovered, the truck should not be driven until they are fixed.
  • Failing to load properly. If the truck load is not distributed correctly, this can cause the brakes to overheat and malfunction.
  • Not replacing glazed brakes. Brakes that have been overused and overheated—especially over time—can cause brake pad materials to crystalize or glaze and become much harder, making the brakes much less effective than undamaged ones. Glazed brakes must be replaced for the truck to be able to brake safely.

If you were injured in an accident caused by a truck’s faulty or poorly maintained brakes, you could be entitled to compensation for your lost wages, medical bills, and pain and suffering. I urge you to call me at 888.716.8021 for a free consultation as soon as possible before the trucking company and trucker destroy evidence that could help you prove their negligence.