Earlier this year, a semi-truck accident in Colorado captured national headlines. In that incident, the truck’s brakes overheated, causing them to fail. The result was a fiery crash that involved 28 vehicles. When the smoke cleared, four individuals had lost their lives. Others suffered serious injuries in the collision.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 18-wheelers may weigh as much as 80,000 pounds. The average passenger vehicle in the United States tips the scales at roughly 4,000 pounds. Accordingly, it is not hard to see that a collision with a truck with bad brakes may cause you to sustain life-threatening injuries. Here are three reasons a semi-truck’s brakes may put you at risk.
- Skipped maintenance
Truck drivers must meet tight deadlines and drive lengthy distances. Further, trucking companies must look for ways to maximize profit. Unfortunately, though, if a driver fails to properly maintain his or her truck’s brakes, your life may be in danger. Therefore, if you have sustained a serious injury in a truck-related accident, you must investigate whether the driver maintained brake pads, rotors, lines and other components.
- Improper maintenance
Commercial drivers have a legal obligation to maintain vehicles, so they usually do not skip brake maintenance altogether. However, inadequate maintenance and shoddy repairs can also cause problems. An inexperienced mechanic may not have enough knowledge or skill to properly maintain commercial vehicles. Further, temporary fixes designed to keep the 18-wheeler on the road may not be enough. Either way, if a driver does not adequately maintain his or her vehicle, a collision may be imminent.
- Operator error
In the Colorado crash, the driver had opportunities to exit the highway and take advantage of runaway-truck ramps. He chose not to do so. Still, drivers should receive extensive training both on performing brake maintenance and controlling a vehicle with damaged brakes. If a driver behaves unreasonably, however, you may find yourself in the middle of a devastating crash.
To keep motorists, pedestrians and others safe, truck drivers must keep their brakes in good condition. They must also draw on their skill set to minimize their chances of having an accident. Since brake-related accidents occur, though, you must understand who is likely to blame for the injuries you may sustain in one.