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Arnold & Itkin LLP Truck Accident Blog2016FebruaryThe Importance of Maintaining Truck Braking Systems

The Importance of Maintaining Truck Braking Systems

According to statistics published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), trucks account for about 7% of road traffic, but they account for 12.6% of annual traffic accident fatalities. What these disproportionate numbers mean is that an accident involving a truck is much more likely to result in a fatality then an accident involving cars or other smaller, more conventionally sized vehicles.

Since this is the case, it is imperative that truck drivers and trucking companies take every precaution to properly maintain their vehicles in order to avoid unnecessary and preventable accidents. One of the most important tools for preventing truck accidents is a truck’s brake system. Unfortunately, brakes do suffer wear and tear over time, which can result in brake failure. That’s why proper maintenance and testing is so important.

Facts About Big Trucks & Brakes

Trucks can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds when fully loaded. This means they take longer to come to a full stop. When a regular passenger car is traveling at 55 miles per hour, it can take about 135 feet to come to a full stop, more or less. A semi-truck that is fully loaded can take as much as 200 feet to stop. If the truck’s brakes are “hot”—meaning the driver has been using them for awhile—the truck might take 450 to stop. These differences in distance may seem inconsequential, but they can make a life or death difference in an accident.

Brake Maintenance & Accident Prevention

Truck stopping distances are already greater than that of a smaller vehicle. Any wear or tear on the brakes only adds to the time it takes for the vehicle to come to a complete stop. That’s why brake maintenance is so essential for commercial truck drivers. Even if it's only a matter of seconds, good brakes could make a life or death difference for drivers who are sharing the road with a large commercial vehicle.

What Are Regular Performance-Based Brake Tests (PBBT)?

Appropriate maintenance of a truck or large commercial vehicle should and must include regular performance-based brake tests (PBBT). A PBBT quantitatively assesses the braking performance of a vehicle, directly measuring the amount of force the brake applies at each wheel and axle, as well as the force applied to the vehicle as a whole.

These tests also assess a truck's overall braking capability through stopping performance tests, which are designed to determine what a vehicle's stopping distance is under different conditions. Regular PBBTs are conducted with specialized equipment. They detect and prevent most brake problems, and should be conducted in addition to any truck lot brake-performance evaluations conducted by trucking companies.

Faulty Brakes May Be a Factor in Your Accident

If a truck driver or trucking company does not diligently conduct appropriate maintenance routinely on a vehicle's braking system, and that vehicle is involved in a serious accident, both the driver and the company may be held liable for injuries to other people on the road. If you or a loved one was injured in a trucking accident, it’s imperative that you speak with an attorney. Faulty brakes may or may not have been involved.

Speak With a Lawyer About Your Case. Call Arnold & Itkin.

If you or someone you love has been hurt in an accident involving a truck, contact a truck accident attorney from Arnold & Itkin today. We have extensive experience representing truck accident victims and have retrieved more than $1 billion on behalf of our injured clients. Contact a truck accident lawyer from our firm today—we will be happy to provide a free and confidential consultation on your case.

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