According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, 4,761 people were killed in crashes involving large trucks in 2017. Of those, 3,289 accidents involved large tractor-trailers or commercial trucks, meaning 69% fatalities involved tractor-trailers. Simply put, it is a matter of size: even an empty tractor-trailer can weigh up to 30,000 pounds, and one that is fully loaded can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds. A smaller passenger vehicle such as a car or SUV is no match against a tractor-trailer or dump truck in an accident.
Due to their sheer weight and size, it is important for tractor-trailers to have good working brakes because they are one of the ways truck drivers can try to avoid an accident. When a tractor-trailer's braking system fails, either because of inadequate maintenance, truck-driver error, or an overloaded trailer, the results are often serious or even fatal to other drivers and passengers on the road.
At Davis Law Group, P.A., in Asheville, North Carolina, we serve victims of truck accidents and their families as a source of comfort and a strong advocate for their legal rights. There is a lot of work to do after a truck-related accident. We will determine if the tractor-trailer's brake failure led to your accident, and we will work to hold those liable for your injuries and damages.
Causes of Brake Failure in North Carolina
Truck drivers control their vehicles on the roads with steering and speed. Being in control of these two factors means they can avoid collisions with others on the road. The most dangerous way for a truck driver to be out of control is if their brakes fail. Tractor-trailers need a lot more distance and time to slow down to a stop than a regular passenger vehicle because of their weight and size. If the truck driver cannot effectively slow down and control their steering, an accident with another vehicle is almost guaranteed, and the results can be devastating.
Brakes are made to work, and when they do not, someone is responsible for them failing. Whether it was the truck driver, the trucking company, the designer or manufacturer of the braking system, or the person responsible for maintaining the brake system, Davis Law Group, P.A. will work to uncover what happened and who is liable for your suffering.
Truck drivers drive to earn a living. When they are not out on the road driving, they are not earning money. Some drivers may skip inspecting their truck's braking system because they are running late and need to get back on the road as soon as possible. Failing to properly inspect and report any issues with a braking system can be serious.
Some truck drivers will deliberately “depower” or disable the front brakes on a truck to minimize tire and brake wear. This means that they are relying on the trailer brakes, the jake brake, and downshifting to slow their eighteen-wheeler down. If they are traveling at a high rate of speed, this means they may not be able to stop in time to avoid crashing into another vehicle on the road.
Finally, inexperienced and/or poorly trained truck drivers may overuse brakes when going down a long, steep hill, which will cause the brakes to overheat and fail. This is called brake fading. An experienced truck accident law firm such as Davis Law Group, P.A., will determine whether the truck driver or the trucking company was at fault for putting a risky driver on the road.
There are only a handful of companies that design and manufacture braking systems, and sometimes these companies will use cheap materials when manufacturing new design systems to increase their own profits. If the company cuts corners or has poor quality control, their brakes are not going to be safe, no matter how well the design is meant to be. If a brake's design or how it was manufactured is the reason it failed and caused your accident, the company should be held responsible for your injuries.
The braking system on a tractor-trailer does a lot of work every day to bring tens of thousands of pounds to a stop every few hours every day. Even the best designed and manufactured brakes will wear down over time. Therefore, it is crucial to maintain a tractor-trailer's braking system. Unfortunately, brake maintenance is not something that is done as often as it should because when a truck is being serviced, that means it's not on the road earning money for the trucking company and/or driver.
Trucking companies and truck drivers are responsible for properly maintaining a rig's braking system. Trucking companies have the tools and ability to test a truck's braking system and fix any problems they find, but this means they have to take the truck off the road for a period of time, and fixing any problems can also be expensive. Truck drivers are supposed to inspect their truck's braking system on a daily basis and note any problems, but this takes time away from being on the road earning money, so often it is overlooked. And not all brake problems can be identified without a full inspection done off the road.
Experienced Brake Failure Attorney in Asheville, NC
If a tractor-trailer's brake system failed and caused you to be involved in a serious accident that has left you injured and facing long-term medical care, you deserve to be compensated by whoever is at fault. Davis Law Group, P.A. has the experience you need to determine who was at fault and, therefore, who is liable for your accident.
Call 828-350-7700 today to schedule a free initial consultation or contact our firm as soon as possible after a tractor-trailer wreck.