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Commercial trucks weigh significantly more than your everyday vehicle. If you are in a crash with a semi, you are apt to sustain a life-altering injury.

In 2017, there were more than 37,000 fatal 18-wheeler accidents on U.S. roadways, the highest number in nearly 30 years. Unfortunately, brake failure contributed to some of the accidents. While you cannot control the actions of either truckers or trucking companies, you might be interested to know why brake failure occurs. Here are four common reasons.

  1. Maintenance

The U.S. Department of Transportation inspects commercial vehicles to ensure mechanical components are in good condition. Regrettably, there are not enough inspectors to keep all trucking companies honest. And in an effort to save money, operators may delay regular maintenance or skip it altogether.

  1. Misuse 

Also related to saving money, misuse of brakes may contribute to a catastrophic failure. For example, a trucker may disconnect front-end brakes to increase the longevity of tires and brake parts. This approach, though, relies on the trailer’s brakes to stop the vehicle. Sometimes, trailer brakes do not respond fast enough to stop the truck before a collision occurs.

  1. Overloading 

Tractor-trailer operators must comply with strict guidelines when loading their vehicles. Specifically, they cannot add too much weight to the trailer. For a variety of reasons, a driver may push or exceed limits. If he or she does, brake failure may be imminent.

  1. Overheating 

Commercial vehicles may weigh as much as 80,000 pounds. When going downhill, a truck’s brakes must work hard to decrease the vehicle’s speed. Eventually, brakes may overheat and fail. To avoid this problem, truckers should practice safe-braking techniques.

If you have suffered a serious injury in an accident with a tractor-trailer, your life may never be the same again. Fortunately, you may be able to pursue reasonable compensation from the negligent driver or company owner who contributed to the crash.