Of all the truck accidents that happen on U.S. roadways each year, those caused by brake failure are the most frequent. The Large Truck Crash Causation Study, completed by the National Highway Safety Administration found that Missouri brake failure trucking accidents are more common than any other single factor and lead to the deaths of approximately 5,000 motorists each year in the United States.
Trucking accidents related to brake problems can be attributed to a wide range of different problems. In many cases of truck accidents, lawyers defending truck companies blame brake failure as a cause of the accident. However, safety advocates have found that complete brake failure – usually caused by defective brakes – is very rare. More often, brakes fail to perform adequately either because they are poorly maintained, the truck is driven too fast for the road conditions, or some combination of these two factors. Missouri tire failure truck accidents attorneys have found that wet, snowy or icy roads, heavy traffic and fog are all conditions that may contribute to accidents that are ultimately blamed on brake failure.
Complete brake failure is rare largely because of the type of brakes most American trucks utilize. While most cars have hydraulic brakes, which must have ample brake fluid to operate effectively, trucks brakes typically use air to brake, which is always available. Air brakes simply need air pressure in order to function. Even when air brakes are not properly maintained, they will always work to some degree. A dual brake system which is in widespread use also ensures that truck brakes will not experience complete failure. If they are kept well maintained, air brakes tend to be quite reliable, and therefore are the mechanism of choice in most commercial vehicles.
Despite their reputation as the most dependable form of brakes, air brakes necessitate competent and careful driving tactics. The negative aspect of air brakes is that they do not engage as quickly as hydraulic brakes do. When a longer stopping time is tacked onto the increased momentum of a heavily-loaded truck, an aggressive driver or a driver who speeds represent a serious risk to other motorists. Sometimes truck drivers claim their brakes did not engage – that this was the source of an accident. Truck crash specialists assert that truck brakes usually did engage but that the situation demanded fasting braking than they could deliver.
A primary circumstance that may be highlighted in a Missouri brake failure truck accident lawsuit is a lack of maintenance to the brakes, which can make them far less effective than when they are in good repair. The brakes will still work marginally, but if they are used in an emergency they will not stop the truck in time to avoid a collision. Accidents related to the braking system’s failure to engage properly are entirely too common, and what’s more, are usually avoidable. In order to cut down on preventable brake-related accidents, trucking companies must both require and reward their drivers for completing inspections and repairs as needed in transit. Unfortunately, many drivers are paid by the mile and are under a significant degree of pressure to complete deliveries rapidly. Trucking companies must create an environment in which drivers benefit directly from inspecting and maintaining their vehicles in order to decrease the number of accidents related to brake problems.