Semi-trucks depend on working brake systems for safe operation, and when those systems fail it can have catastrophic results. The landmark Large Truck Crash Causation Study by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) cited brake problems as a factor in 29 percent of large truck accidents. Unfortunately, some of these brake failures may have been avoidable with proper maintenance.
How common are issues of brake safety in big rigs?
The braking systems of semi-trucks are complex, and each part of the system must be properly maintained. Unfortunately, many trucks on the road lack proper brake maintenance. The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s yearly Brake Safety Week sheds light on how common these issues are in large commercial vehicles. In 2020, 12 percent of the vehicles inspected were placed out of service for violations related to brake safety.
Who is responsible for brake maintenance in these vehicles?
Brake safety in large commercial vehicles depends on a variety of different parties. Drivers are responsible for reporting damage to their vehicle or concerns about systems that are not functioning correctly. The choice to continue driving a truck with a known issue could put other drivers at risk.
Trucking companies themselves hold responsibility for regularly inspecting and maintaining the trucks in their fleet, including their brake systems. Companies also have a legal responsibility for ensuring that the inspectors responsible for inspecting the brake systems must meet required qualifications and have the correct training or experience.
When brake failure harms those who share the roadway with semi-trucks, injured people and their families may want to explore their legal options. They can hold drivers, companies and other parties responsible for their part in the accident.