Brake inspections and maintenance are a critical part of keeping commercial vehicles safe on the roads. That’s why the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) conducts thousands of inspections during its annual Brake Safety Week, which was September 15-21 of this year. The results served as a warning to everyone on the road.
CVSA conducted 34,320 inspections of vehicles in the U.S. and Canada this year. Of those, 4,626 vehicles were placed out of service for critical brake-related violations during the Brake Safety Week inspections. Thousands more were reported to have brake hose violations.
“This inspection and enforcement event reminds drivers and motor carriers of the importance of properly functioning brakes and spotlights the work done by inspectors, motor carriers and drivers every day to keep our roadways safe by ensuring vehicles are in appropriate working condition,” CVSA President Sgt. John Samis said.
Causes of Truck Accidents Due to Improper Maintenance and Inspections
Large commercial vehicles spend many hours carrying tons of freight across America’s highways. This constant use causes wear on all components of the vehicle, including the brakes, tires, steering systems, and safety features such as lights and signals.
Federal regulations require regular inspections of these components, but trucking companies do not always maintain vehicles as they should. Removing the truck from the road for repair can be a major expense for the company in lost profits and productivity. Delaying vehicle maintenance can increase the danger considerably, however.
Brake failure on a big rig truck can have disastrous consequences. If brakes are improperly maintained, they may operate sufficiently under normal conditions but then fail in an emergency. Brake imbalance caused by mismatched components can cause some brakes to work harder than others and may even lead to some brakes locking up. Jackknifing and skidding can be the result.
Tire maintenance is critical to safety, especially since a fully loaded trailer can carry up to 80,000 pounds of cargo. Tires should be properly inflated, have minimal wear, and sufficient tread. Blowouts can be caused by tires that have weakened due to heat, high speeds, and worn tread caused by high mileage. Proper inspections and maintenance could catch all of these problems before they cause an accident.
Malfunctioning signals and safety lights on a large truck can lead to a serious accident. Turn signals and brake lights provide crucial information to other drivers about the truck driver’s intentions, especially in the dark. Headlights provide the driver with illumination and visibility when no other lighting is available on a dark road or in bad weather.
Commercial trucks are so heavy that properly maintained steering columns, steering wheels, and the suspension is central to the vehicle’s safety. Cargo that is too heavy or improperly loaded can cause damage to the steering system over time, but sometimes this damage does not become apparent until it is advanced. An inspection could catch this issue before it becomes deadly.
Hurt in an Accident? Contact an Experienced Truck Accident Attorney
If you have been in an accident with a large truck or commercial vehicle, you need to contact an attorney experienced with commercial vehicle accident law and the regulations for maintenance and repair. The Houston truck accident lawyers at The Law Offices of Hilda Sibrian have the right experience and resources to help with your case.
Call us to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation today.