There is no question that a big rig or a tractor – trailer takes much longer to stop than a passenger car or pickup truck. In fact, at highway speeds an 18-wheeler takes approximately 1/3 longer to come to a complete stop than a typical car.
Variables such as the load and make up of the roadway can play a part in braking efficiency. In some truck wrecks, where the big rig strikes another vehicle from the rear, the conditions of the brakes at the time of the accident can be a very important factor.
A big rig with bad breaks endangers not only the truck driver but the community. The motor carrier or company that employs the truck driver has legal responsibility to ensure that the truck that the company places on the highway is in safe operating condition. This includes the brakes on the truck.
Additionally, the professional driver is required to ensure through inspection, that the truck and trailer he is driving is in proper operating condition both before the trip begins and after the trip ends. It is through a combination of daily inspections and routine and ongoing maintenance that motor carriers make sure that the truck is safe to be on the highways for everyone.
When the safety procedures are violated or when the company does not have an adequate safety and inspection program, bad things can happen and improper or out of adjustment truck and trailer brakes can be one of those items that slips through the cracks.
Because the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations require certain minimum standards to ensure the safety of the vehicle, a vehicle inspection should be considered after in a serious injury or fatal truck accident where the condition of the vehicle may have been a cause.
Trucking companies and insurance carriers for trucking companies have recently started to push for repairs to be conducted on commercial vehicles involved in an accident very early on after the accident as a litigation strategy to prevent an injury victim or their family from having an effective inspection of the condition of the tractor-trailer just after the accident.
Whether the truck or the trailer was in proper operating condition can be very powerful evidence in front of a jury. Rule violations by trucking companies for professional drivers are not well received if the impact of the violations involve someone else’s trauma.
If you or a loved one have been seriously injured in a tractor-trailer accident and the condition of the truck itself may have been a factor, contact the best truck accident lawyer you can locate as soon as possible after the accident.