Braking Failure and Large Truck Accidents

A commercial truck is a large and heavy vehicle that is unable to stop quickly. When a tractor-trailer gets into a collision with other vehicles, the damage to each individual impacted in the crash often is severe. There are many reasons for a crash caused by a brake failure, either through mechanical defect or human negligence.

When a truck driver fails to stop in time, the crash might be the result of driver negligence. However, the trucking company may have failed to maintain the truck properly, leading to worn or defective brakes that could not stop a vehicle the size of a commercial tractor-trailer. In addition, the mechanic who actually performed the work on the truck may have carried out his duties in a negligent manner. Finally, there might be a manufacturer’s defect in a part of the braking system itself. An experienced truck accident attorney like the ones at Peter Thompson & Associates will be able to drill down through the many layers of responsibility in order to hold the right people and companies accountable for the harm that was done.

Some of the common causes of serious truck crashes where the brakes are an issue include:

  • A mechanical problem with the brakes;
  • The trucking company’s failure to properly train the driver on how to stop a large truck;
  • The driver’s failure to recognize how much distance was needed to stop the truck;
  • Driver fatigue that leads to decreased reaction time;
  • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol;
  • Driving while distracted by technology, food or drink, a conversation with another person, or any other activity that removed the driver’s focus from the road; or
  • Reckless or aggressive driving.
  • A problem in the braking system itself may involve one of the following issues:
  • Tire blowouts that make the application of the brakes ineffective;
  • Pneumatic imbalance in the wheels;
  • Overheating of the brake system;
  • Wearing of the calipers and pads;
  • Wearing or deterioration of the brake drums or shoes;
  • Leakage of fluids;
  • Crystallized or low hydraulic fluid;
  • Defects in the air valves or gauges;
  • Problems with the brake pressure;
  • Depowering front brakes;
  • Torque imbalance leading to brake lock-up; and
  • Other mechanical failures or defects.

Another factor that can lead to an accident caused by an inability of the tractor-trailer to stop in time may result when the trucking company or driver overloaded the trailer in an effort to transport more goods. The braking systems in commercial trucks are designed to operate up to a certain weight. When that weight is exceeded, the truck will not stop within the acceptable parameters.

An imbalance in the effectiveness of the brakes on the axle may lead to one brake working harder than the other one and leading to a dangerous loss of control. Moreover, if the trailer axles have a greater braking force than the cab/tractor then the cab will drag the trailer, which may then swing out, leading to a jackknife or rollover accident.

Peter Thompson & Associates Is a Skilled Maine Truck Accident Law Firm

Big rigs are a fact of life on roads throughout Maine. These large vehicles often travel in convoys where there is a cascading effect when one gets into a collision with another vehicle. The ability of these large trucks to brake effectively is critical to preventing a devastating multiple vehicle accident that might severe harm and even death. If you have been involved in a serious truck accident, the experienced and dedicated personal injury attorneys at Peter Thompson & Associates will investigate the facts of your crash and develop the best possible legal strategy for you and your family. Call us at 800.804.2004 to set an initial consultation.

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