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Commercial Trucks With Unsafe Brakes

By August 18, 2021August 26th, 2021Blog

In a preview of even larger numbers to come next month, inspectors found more than 1,200 commercial trucks with dangerously unsafe brakes in just one day.

Earlier in July the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, a group of truck safety and law enforcement officials throughout North America, revealed it had, in May, conducted surprise roadside inspections of semi-trucks.  The previously unannounced “Brake Safety Day” included some 10,000 inspections.

The CVSA said the inspections largely were focused on faulty truck brakes and was a precursor to its annual “Brake Safety Week,” which this year will be held August 22 – 28.  That event will expand the random roadside inspections of commercial truck brake systems to seven days.

On May 26, 2021, inspectors issued out-of-service violations to 1,273 big rigs for brake-related issues.  These violations required the unsafe truck brakes to be fixed before the trucks were allowed back on the road.

This equates to 12.6% of commercial trucks having dangerously defective brake systems. In the United States alone, the percentage of trucks found with unsafe brakes was higher, at 13.3%.

The concern over dangerous commercial truck brakes is understandable.

Brake Problems Major Factor in Commercial Truck Crashes

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s 2006 “Large Truck Crash Causation” study remains the most comprehensive look at the reasons why tractor-trailers crash.  The research identified driver error as the number one cause.  But “brake problems” were found to be the leading associated factor in commercial truck accidents.

Problems with truck brake hoses and tubing were another specific focus of “Brake Safety Day.” The CVSA reports that inspectors issued nearly 1,300 violations for truck brake hoses and tubing in the United States.

Dangerously Worn Truck Brake Hoses and Tubing

The degree of worn commercial truck brake hoses and tubing were ranked in five categories, with Category 1 being the least serious.  Category 5 involved the most seriously worn truck brake hoses.  Commercial trucks found with Category 5 issues were given out-of-service violations; about 6% of the vehicles inspected.

The other categories for worn truck brake hoses and tubing, and percentage of U.S. commercial trucks falling into each were:

·         Category 1 (34%) – Wear extended into outer protective material

·         Category 2 (30%) – Wear extended into outer rubber cover

·         Category 3 (15%) – Ply reinforcement visible but still intact

·         Category 4 (12%) – Reinforcement ply visible and frayed, severed or cut

In announcing the results of “Brake Safety Day,” the CVSA explained its focus on worn truck brake hoses and tubing is part of its ongoing efforts to reduce the number of fatal truck crashes due to truck brake system failures from vacuum loss.

Because it will last longer, the 2021 “Brake Safety Week” will find even more commercial trucks with defective brakes. But this year’s one-day preview was a valid indicator of the scope of the ever-present danger. In last year’s “Brake Safety Week,” a similar 13% of U.S. commercial rigs inspected were given out-of-service violations for unsafe brake systems.

Truck drivers and trucking companies have the responsibility to safely maintain their vehicles.  If you were seriously injured or had a family member die in a crash with a commercial truck, turn to an experienced truck accident attorney to investigate for the cause, including unsafe brakes or other negligent maintenance issues.

The choice of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely on advertisements.

Authored by Gray Ritter Graham, posted in Blog August 18, 2021