Have you ever spotted the runaway truck ramp signs as you cruise down a scenic route? Whenever I find myself in the mountains, it often feels like I can’t go a single mile without coming across these signs and accompanying ramps. As a child, I remember pleading with my dad to veer the family car off onto one of these ramps, as it looked more like an off-road obstacle course than a safety feature to a small boy. They serve a chilling, but valuable, purpose.
In the event of brake failure, a truck driver can choose to run off the road and onto a runaway ramp. When a truck’s brakes overheat or fail, the driver loses the ability to slow or halt and puts all other motorists in serious danger. I can’t imagine a sight more frightening than a 30-ton semi barreling down a mountain pass with no brakes. Brake failure is a leading factor in truck accidents, so how much of a concern is it really? What causes it?
Should You Worry About Truck Brakes?
Truck accidents are a serious cause for concern on the roads. While large commercial trucks only account for 4% of registered vehicles, they’re involved in 11% of fatal crashes. One of the leading causes in truck crashes is brake problems or failure.
- Nearly 30% of truck drivers reported their brakes as being a factor in their crash
It looks like we should all be on guard when it comes to truck brakes. Trucks are disproportionately represented in fatal crashes, and their own drivers report frequent brake issues.
What Causes Brake Failure?
What are the factors involved that lead to brake failure? Here are some potential causes:
- Improper Brake Use
Semitrailer brakes and tires are expensive. Many operators will attempt to save money by using their brakes improperly. Some drivers disconnect the brakes on their truck and rely solely on engine braking and the trailer brakes. This puts unnecessary stress on the brakes and can cause failure.
- Poor Brake Maintenance
Semi-trucks are complex machines and require frequent maintenance and inspections to keep on top of problems before they start. Some companies and drivers will cut corners and skip key maintenance items or inspections.
- Overloaded Cargo
Even in the best scenario, trucks require a large distance to come to a stop. When companies or truck operators overload a trailer, they put an excess amount of stress on the brakes. More stress and strain leads to more wear and increases the potential for failure.
Contact Brooks Law
Were you injured in a truck crash? Call our offices today at (800) LAW-3030 for a free, no obligation case evaluation. Our attorneys have years of experience dealing with complicated truck accidents, and you can count on them for your legal representation. The staff at Brooks Law Group is committed to providing you with the best client experience possible. Tired of feeling like just another case number or potential dollar sign? Choose Brooks Law Group, where we care about each client on a personal level. Call us or visit our website today!