Careless driving is the most common cause of fatal trucking accidents. Truckers who speed, truck drivers distracted while on a cell phone, and truckers who are too tired to drive safely can lead to catastrophic 18-wheeler crashes. But reckless truck drivers aren’t the only cause. Another main contributor to deadly commercial truck wrecks is poor vehicle maintenance. And over the summer, more than one out of every 10 commercial tractor-trailers was found on the road in the United States with dangerously defective truck brakes.
A leading trucking safety organization understands the seriousness of poorly maintained commercial trucks. That’s why the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, a consortium of law enforcement and traffic safety officials throughout North America, holds an annual Brake Safety Week. This is seven days every summer when safety inspectors fan out to conduct roadside truck maintenance inspections in the United States, Canada and Mexico.
The stated purpose is to reduce brake-related commercial truck crashes by mothballing trucks found with defective brakes.
This year’s event was held August 23-29, with special COVID-19 protocols in place, and the CVSA just released the findings.
Proper Commercial Truck Maintenance Inspections
Inspectors conducted what are known as Level I and Level V commercial truck inspections. A Level V inspection entails an exhaustive examination of the rig, including:
· Brake systems
· Exhaust and fuel systems
· Improperly secured cargo
A Level I inspection is the most comprehensive truck safety review. It includes the vehicle inspection components of a Level V inspection, but drivers also undergo scrutiny, checking that they have:
· Valid commercial driver’s license
· Proper electronic documentation of driving hours and resting periods
The latter ensures that truckers are following the federal Hours of Service regulations, which are designed to keep dangerously fatigued and overworked truck drivers off the road.
But it’s called Brake Safety Week for a reason. The goal this past August was to find commercial trucks with defective brakes in an effort to prevent deadly big-rig accidents.
The inspectors uncovered loads of tractor-trailers with dangerous brakes. In the United States, nearly 36,000 semis were inspected. Of those, 4,565 commercial trucks – 13% of those inspected – had dangerous brakes.
Theses truck brake safety violations were serious. So serious they were labeled “Out-of-Service” violations. The big-rigs were pulled off the road and not allowed to proceed until their dangerous brakes were fixed.
Brake Safety Week is an annual occurrence. This year’s results seem to occur every year as well.
More Than 1 out of 10 Big Rigs On The Road Have Defective Brakes
In 2019, 13.6% of the commercial trucks inspected in the United States were given out-of-service violations for bad brakes. The year prior, 2018, another 14.1 percent of 18-wheelers were pulled off the road when found with defective brake systems.
A specific emphasis for this year’s event focused on worn truck brake hoses. More than 4,300 U.S. commercial big rigs were issued violations for worn brake hoses. There were five different categories of dangerously worn-out truck brake hoses. Two of them constituted out-of-service violations, and 21% of the trucks stopped for defective brake houses had these most serious of issues.
The United States had a higher percentage of big trucks with worn brake hose out-of-service violations than Mexico or Canada.
Just as preventing numerous dangerous truck driving behaviors – such as any known illegal drug use – is the responsibility of truckers and trucking companies, so too is the proper upkeep of their rigs. But per these latest findings, plenty of truck drivers and employers are ignoring their responsibilities to other drivers on the road.
If you were seriously injured or you lost a loved one in a crash caused by a commercial truck, speak with a personal injury attorney who has experience in dealing with irresponsible trucking companies and making them pay.
The choice of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely on advertisements.
Authored by Gray, Ritter & Graham, P.C., posted in Articles October 29, 2020