Large commercial trucks are a necessity of life. We need to share our roads with big rigs, and we often encounter hundreds of them daily in our commutes in and around Houston. Unfortunately, traveling on the highway with semi-trucks can be dangerous, especially when a truck does not have the proper care or maintenance. Mechanical failures account for about 35% of truck accidents, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Types of Truck Mechanical Failures
Big rigs may experience mechanical failures that are different or more dangerous than when they occur with passenger vehicles. Some of the most common truck mechanical failures include:
● Brake Problems: Brakes are an essential part of the mechanical truck system. When the brakes fail, it can cause the truck to cannot stop in time to prevent a collision. Trucks take longer to stop than other vehicles because of their size and weight, so when brakes are worn out, they can make it difficult to stop the rig safely.
● Tire Blowouts: Large commercial trucks typically have 18 wheels. If a tire blows out, it can cause a sudden weight shift, and the driver may lose control of the truck. Tires should have enough tread and must have proper inflation. Drivers should check inflation before every trip because temperature and other conditions can cause pressure changes.
● Lighting Malfunctions: A truck must have headlights, taillights, and running lights to ensure that other drivers can see them on the road. Lights are essential when trucks travel at night in poorly lit areas. If a truck stalls, other vehicles may hit it if there are improper lighting and reflective tape.
● Engine Breakdowns: A truck engine can last for many thousands of miles when it is properly maintained. If an engine breaks down, it can cause a truck to stop running while in a lane of traffic. Trucks that break down can be hazardous to other drivers, even when the truck is pulled to the shoulder.
● Rear Bumper Guard Defects: Large trucks must have adequate rear bumper guards in place to keep vehicles from sliding underneath in a rear-end collision. If the bumper guard is damaged or is not equipped according to federal requirements, a minor accident could turn into a significant catastrophe.
Who is at Fault for an Accident Caused by a Mechanical Failure?
One or more parties may be at fault for truck mechanical failures. The trucking company must follow the rules to inspect and maintain fleet vehicles. If they fail to maintain a vehicle and an accident results properly, they could be at fault. The driver must check the vehicle before driving it to make sure that it is in good working condition. The driver should have the training to handle mechanical emergencies on the road. Sometimes, the equipment manufacturer or repair company could be to blame if they were negligent in the manufacture or repair process.
Each of these factors should be analyzed by a competent attorney early on after a major crash.
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