Serious Commercial Truck Brake Issues Uncovered
Truck side Mirror

Defective truck brakes can cause catastrophic commercial truck accidents.  One organization recently documented just how prevalent this danger is on America’s roads.

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance annually conducts an event called “Brake Safety Week.” It identifies tractor-trailers and other commercial trucks with unsafe brakes.  This year’s event was held August 22 through 28.

CVSA, a group of law enforcement and safety officials throughout North America, announced the 2021 Brake Safety Week results in October. Nearly 29,000 commercial trucks were inspected in the United States, with 13.5% found with seriously defective brakes. The commercial trucks inspected include:

  • Tractor-trailers
  • Flatbed trucks
  • Tanker trucks
  • Straight trucks (delivery trucks)

How serious were the truck brake issues?  They were so serious the commercial trucks received out-of-service violations, meaning they could not get back on the road until their brakes were repaired.

In May CVSA conducted a one-day truck brake inspection program with similarly alarming results.  Inspectors found nearly 1,300 U.S. trucks with brakes so faulty they received out-of-service violations – again about 13% of all commercial trucks that were inspected.

Worn Truck Brake Hose Violations

The findings identified a specific type of dangerous truck brake condition, which are worn brake hoses.  Hose chafing violations were ranked one through five, with five being the most serious.  In the United States:

  • 13% of commercial trucks received out-of-service violations for Category 4 hose chafing issues
  • 9% of commercial trucks received out-of-service violations for Category 5 hose chafing issues

The CVSA is not alone in pointing out the dangers of commercial trucks with defective brakes.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is an independent, nonprofit organization focused on reducing fatal truck accidents and fatal car crashes.  It reports that defective truck brakes have been found in 42% of truck-involved crashes.

IIHS also notes that brake problems meriting an out-of-service violation triple the chances of a commercial truck crashing.

Trucks with Unsafe Brakes Increase Chances for Crashes

Whether or not unsafe brakes were involved, IIHS reports that any type of truck maintenance issue increases the odds of a truck crash by 200%. IIHS further reports:

  • 55% of commercial trucks involved in a crash were found to have at least one mechanical defect
  • Almost 30% of commercial trucks involved in a crash had an out-of-service violation for a maintenance issue
  • The leading commercial truck maintenance issue was unsafe brakes – 36% of all issues uncovered
  • Commercial trucks with brakes that are out-of-adjustment were found to be nearly twice as likely to cause a crash

A truck driver behaving negligently behind the wheel – speeding, driving distracted, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol – may cause a fatal crash.  A truck driver and a trucking company that avoid regular maintenance or known maintenance issues, such as defective brakes, also may be liable.

If you were seriously injured or you had a loved one die in a crash involving a commercial truck, speak with a personal injury lawyer about conducting a thorough investigation into the crash and pursuing just compensation from all responsible parties.

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 December 20, 2021


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