3 Common Truck Defects that Cause Trucking Accidents
Trucks are huge, heavy pieces of machinery. A well-ordered machine has all parts in proper working order. However, many truck drivers and trucking companies fail to keep their rigs in proper shape. Trucking companies often have huge incentives to get their trucks back on the road so they can deliver more cargo. This often means that tractor-trailers skip the maintenance and inspection they need to ensure trucks are in good condition, and that all parts work properly. In some cases, truck drivers themselves may choose to avoid fixing an issue in favor of finishing their deliveries.
This kind of behavior can put other drivers at risk for serious truck accident injuries. If you or a loved one was injured in a truck accident caused by equipment malfunction or auto defects, talk to an experienced truck accident attorney today. The truck accident attorneys at the Reiff Law Firm’s The Truck Accident Team represent injured truck accident victims across the country.
Truck Equipment Malfunctions that Cause Accidents
Many truck accidents are caused by a combination of factors. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is responsible for writing the regulations that govern truck drivers and trucking companies across the United States. The FMCSA also studies truck safety and the causes of truck accidents. One such study, the Large Truck Crash Causation Study, was performed in 2007 to highlight a number of truck accident causes. The causes were divided into factors that stem from the driver, the vehicle, and the environment. Among the top three vehicle-based truck accident causes were the following:
1. Brake Problems
Driving next to a truck on the highway, it may be difficult to tell how heavy the truck really is. Federal regulations allow fully-laden trucks to weigh up to 80,000 pounds – over 20-times the weight of a typical sedan. If trucks are required to brake suddenly, this weight may be too much, and overpower their ability to brake. With this increase in weight, trucks can also take over 20-times the stopping distance as a car.
In tight situations, at high speeds, and after long journeys, trucks’ brakes may not be able to stop the vehicle. Especially in stretches of long, down-hill driving, truck drivers may overuse their brakes to slow down. After too much breaking, this could cause total brake failure, making the truck a runaway vehicle with little maneuverability, and a high chance of accidents.
2. Tire Problems
Avoiding truck tire accidents is the purpose of several FMCSA regulations. The depth and quality of the tire treads are required to follow certain standards, which vary based on the tire’s location on the truck. For instance, while rear tires may be slightly worn – or even re-capped or re-treaded to save money – front steering tires must be new and in good quality.
Many trucking companies re-cap or re-tread tires rather than purchase expensive, new tires. This, along with improper or uneven tire wear or tire pressure can cause the tires to heat up and shed layers. When layers break off a truck at highway speeds, they can cause the trucker or other drivers to swerve in reaction. If tires burst altogether, truckers can lose control. Either way, the potential accidents could be deadly.
3. Cargo Shift
While this is not exclusively a vehicle equipment issue, many FMCSA rules require cargo to be evenly loaded and properly secured. While the truck moves, the cargo becomes one solid unit with respect to the laws of physics, and internal shifting of the cargo’s weight can cause serious effects for the vehicle’s overall stability. If cargo is originally loaded too far back in the trailer, too high up, or too unevenly, the trailer may not move the way the driver wants it to. Especially in tight corners or during emergency maneuvers (like sudden stopping or swerving to avoid danger), the trailer may not move correctly.
This can cause the trailer to fishtail, swerve, or even fold against the cab of the truck. Alternatively, the truck or the trailer could leave the lane or even roll over under this force. When the trailer does this, the driver can lose control of the entire vehicle, and may involve others in serious accidents. In many cases, these accidents only affect the truck, but could potentially involve every nearby car on the highway.
Truck Defect Accident Attorneys
If the truck that caused your accident was defective, our attorneys may be able to take the trucker, the trucking company, and even the manufacturer or mechanic who created or serviced the faulty parts to court. For very serious accidents and injuries, you could be entitled to substantial compensation for lost wages, medical bills, and pain and suffering. the Reiff Law Firm’s The Truck Accident team may be able to help you get compensation for severe injuries. For a free consultation on your case, call our truck defect accident lawyers today at (215) 246-9000.