Approximately 4,119 people died in commercial truck accidents in 2019. While commercial truck crashes can be caused by many different factors, one of the most common causes of these deadly crashes is when commercial vehicles are not properly maintained.
If drivers fail to address mechanical issues in trucks or remedy the problems about which they know, even seemingly insignificant issues could lead to deadly accidents. When crashes of this kind occur, the driver, the trucking company, and various other companies who are tasked with maintaining the truck often end up facing some degree of liability.
Some mechanical defects are much more common than others. This article reviews a few of the most common types of commercial truck defects.
A Commercial Truck Accidents the Result of Poor Maintenance
If you’ve been involved in a crash where your car has sustained damage due to poor maintenance, it can be difficult to determine whether the fault lies with the manufacturer or the dealer. However, when determining liability, courts generally look at three factors: 1) what kind of defect existed before the collision occurred? 2) how long did the defect exist prior to the collision? 3) Was the defective product being operated within its intended use?
If you suspect that your truck accident was caused by neglected maintenance, you may have a case for compensation.
Given the size of commercial trucks, they must be equipped with adequate brakes. This is because it takes much more time to stop a commercial truck than it does a smaller vehicle. Brake pads need to be routinely inspected and adequately maintained in order to perform properly. Brake pads should also be replaced before they wear down because worn brake pads make it more challenging for the driver to stop. Many trucking companies, however, are often interested in saving money and fail to adequately maintain their vehicles’ brakes. Other times, commercial trucks face brake imbalance, which can lead some brakes on the vehicle to work better than others.
Fifth Wheel Coupling
Commercial trucks are equipped with a fifth wheel coupling that connects the cab to the trailer that hauls freight. This mechanism must be secure or the trailer will become unattached. If mechanisms break down, trailers might come off, freight can shift, and trailers can jackknife. The term ‘jackknifing’ is used to describe when the trailer of a large semi-truck pushes the front towing vehicle to the side or entirely around so that it ends up facing backward. While routine inspection can help to spot these problems, not all trucking companies take care to inspect for this issue.
Faulty Steering Equipment
The steering wheels of commercial trucks are sometimes the issue. Other times, difficulties arise with axles or other equipment connected to steering. While truck drivers and trucking companies are known to claim that they were not aware of a steering issue, these issues are often accompanied by vibrating wheels.
Tire Blowouts and Other Difficulties
Drivers must make sure that their vehicles’ tires are sufficiently inflated to avoid the risk of tire blowouts. If tires blow out, rubber might get thrown into the road and could end up in the path of other vehicles. Worn-down treads can also cause substantial issues with vehicle control. Whether it is mismatched tires or inadequate depth requirements, tire failures are often the result of driver or trucking company negligence.
Commercial Truck Accidents
In order to understand why trucking companies are responsible for these types of accidents, it’s important to know how they operate. Trucks have been around since before there were cars but their size has increased dramatically over time. They can weigh up to 80 tons and carry loads that would be considered too heavy for passenger car drivers. These huge machines require special training and equipment to drive safely.
Truckers must also comply with federal regulations which govern everything from hours worked to safety standards.
Commercial Truck Accidents Statistics:
In 2010 alone more than 1 million people were injured by commercial trucks. That number does not include those who died because of crashes caused by them. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, about one-third of fatal accidents involve commercial trucks. This means that every day at least 100 people die due to commercial truck accidents.
Contact a Missouri Truck Accident Attorney
One of the best steps that you can take following a truck accident is to obtain the assistance of a compassionate accident attorney. While the aftermath of truck accidents is often overwhelming, a skilled attorney can make it much less so. Contact House Law LLC today to schedule a free case evaluation.