How Many Commercial Trucks Have Dangerous Brakes?

truck blur pixlr

According to the “Large Truck Crash Causation Study,” the federal government’s most exhaustive research into fatal tractor-trailer accidents, the leading cause of such crashes is driver error. But another major contributor is improperly maintained commercial trucks, which recently was proven a common condition on today’s roads.

Driver Error Causing Fatal Tractor-Trailer Accidents

That federal study attributed nearly nine out of 10 fatal commercial truck crashes to a driver mistake or negligent action.  These included:

·         Driver falling asleep

·         Driver inattentive

·         Driver going too fast for conditions

·         Driver following cars ahead too closely

Problems with the vehicle were categorized as the second leading cause for deadly semi-truck crashes.  They accounted for 10 percent of the fatal wrecks.

Breaking down the research further, the study identified numerous associated factors with the 141,000 fatal big-rig crashes in the study.  In fact, the researchers included hundreds of associated factors, from prescription drug use to traffic congestion.

Among those hundreds of associated factors contributing to fatal commercial truck crashes, the top ranked was bad brakes.

Which brings us to May 15, 2019.

On that day the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance – an organization focused on improving the safety of the trucking industry – conducted surprise inspections of commercial truck brakes. Cooperating law enforcement agencies pulled over 10,358 rigs.

The CVSA recently released the findings of the inspections.  A significant number of trucks were found with dangerous and defective brakes.

Semis Taken Off Road for Seriously Defective Brakes

According to the CVSA, 1,667 trucks – about 16 percent of all trucks inspected – were found to have such severe issues with their brakes they were taken off the road and given out-of-service violations.  These violations meant the trucks could not continue until their brake problems were fixed.

The CVSA reported that the top brake system violation for commercial trucks was leaky or worn hoses and tubing.

For surprise inspections, these truck bad-brake findings were not surprising. The CVSA annually conducts its “Brake Safety Week,” during which it also conducts truck brake inspections but on a wider scale.

Last September it conducted just over 35,000 commercial truck inspections over a seven-day period. Closely following the results of this year’s May inspection event, 14 percent of the commercial trucks inspected in this week-long event were given out-of-service violations for dangerous braking systems.

And in June last year the CVSA conducted its annual International Roadcheck event in the United States and Canada, during which inspectors conducted surprise thorough examinations of both the trucks and truckers.  The top truck out-of-service violation handed out?  Bad brakes once more.

While not always the primary reason for a fatal commercial truck crash, bad brakes or other neglected maintenance can combine with a speeding trucker or an inattentive trucker to cause catastrophic, multi-vehicle accidents. Safely maintained rigs are the responsibility of both the trucker and the trucker’s employer.

If you were seriously injured or a loved one died in a crash with a commercial truck, contact a truck accident lawyer to ensure all those who are responsible are held accountable for their negligence.

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 16, 2019


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