Of all trucking accidents caused by mechanical failures, the most common accidents leading to these collisions are tire defects and brake failure. According to the Department of Transportation (DOT), 29.4% of all accidents involving large trucks occurred as a result of brake-related problems. A sizeable number of accidents were cased by tire defects or tire-related issues.
Brake failure leading to a serious trucking accident may be caused by a number of factors. The driver may be liable if he or she does not apply or use the brakes correctly. The company loading the truck may be responsible if the truck was loaded incorrectly, causing undue stress on the tires. The owner-operator of the truck may be liable for the accident if the brakes were not correctly maintained. The brake manufacturer may be responsible if there was a defect in the design or assembly of the truck’s brake system. Unfortunately, after an accident, all parties involved tend to blame each other. A brake manufacturer may suggest that a truck company did not perform adequate maintenance, while the trucking company might blame an aggressive driver, who in turn might blame the company loading the truck. It often takes an astute Florida personal injury attorney to investigate all possible causes of an accident.
There are strict regulations handed down from the government to the trucking industry. These standards demand that all trucks have brakes which adhere to established automatic brake adjustment system requirements. Under federal guidelines, truck brakes must allow for a certain braking force (which is established differently for trucks of different weight. Under federal rules, all trucks must also have a braking system which allows them to stop from 20 miles per hour to full stop at a specific rate (the rate is determined by truck size). If a truck does not meet these guidelines, the company owning the truck, the brake manufacturer and the driver may be held liable for any damages occurring from a collision.
In addition to brakes, tires are also a major cause of trucking accidents. Tire blowouts leave long strips of tires on the road and these accidents can be fatal, as tire blowouts can cause tire debris to fly at other vehicles on the road. Tire defects and blowouts can also cause truck drivers to lose control of their vehicles, veering their trucks into other cars on the road.
Defective tires and incorrect tire maintenance are the most common causes of tire-related truck accidents. Defective tires are usually the result of a design flaw by the manufacturer or are the result of a manufacturing process flaw. Many tires are recalled due to defects and after a recall truck companies must ensure that defective and recalled tires are no longer used on their trucks. Trucking companies must also maintain their tires correctly. For example, tires must meet minimum tread depth guidelines established by the Department of Transportation. Tires must also have similar wear and must be paired correctly according to size. The same axle must have the same radial or bias tires. When tires get worn, they must be replaced.
Trucking companies are responsible for ensuring that correct tire maintenance is seen to, but drivers may also be held liable in an accident if they noticed tire problems or other mechanical problems and failed to report these issues. Drivers are expected to perform pre-trip inspections of the truck and tires. If a driver fails to do this and an accident occurs, the driver may be held partly liable.