Every driver knows that the brakes are one of the most important pieces of equipment on a motor vehicle. With faulty brakes, an accident is certainly bound to happen. Because of the size and weight of tractor-trailers and other commercial trucks, it takes much longer for these vehicles to come to a complete stop. In fact, by most reports, it takes over 500 feet for these trucks to come to a complete stop. That’s nearly twice the length of a football field. If large trucks are experiencing brake problems, they need to be investigated as quickly as possible so that accidents are avoided and lives are saved.
The brakes on an 18-wheeler are quite different from those on a car. Cars use a hydraulic system. Pushing the brake pushes a hydraulic cylinder, which releases brake fluid and forces the pistons to activate the brake pads, which finally bring the car to a stop.
Large trucks use an air brake system. These brakes work better for large trucks because it would take a tremendous amount of hydraulic fluid to bring these trucks to a stop. When a truck driver hits the brakes, air flows through the airlines and enters a brake chamber, setting off a chain reaction that creates friction and slows the truck down. However, it may take a second for the truck to stop after the driver presses the brakes.
One source reports that brake issues cause approximately 29 percent of all commercial truck accidents. Some of the most common brake problems in trucks include:
- Air pressure issues
- Worn or faulty brake components
- Poor tire tread
- Condensation in the brakes
Any of these issues can cause brake failure, which may lead to a major accident.
Preventing brake problems
Truck drivers and trucking companies must regularly check their trucks to be sure the brakes are functioning. Truck companies have a responsibility to perform maintenance on trucks and repair any issues as soon as possible. Truck drivers must report any issues to these companies so that repairs may be scheduled.
Signs of brake issues include:
- Pulling to one side when braking
- Stability issues while braking, such as the trailer hitting the tractor
- A delay in the brakes applying or releasing
These are just a few of the red flags that drivers need to report to their companies.
Truck drivers may be liable for accidents they cause if they do not report brake issues to their companies. If a trucking company fails to perform regular maintenance or repair brakes in a timely manner, they may also be held liable for the accident. Victims may recover pain and suffering, medical bill costs, and lost wages.
Let our experienced Chicago truck accident attorneys help
The truck accident attorneys at Stein & Shulman have over 40 years of combined experience. We offer a free consultation to give our potential clients an idea of their legal options. To schedule your free consultation, call 312-422-0509.