Poor truck maintenance is a leading cause of traffic accidents involving large commercial vehicles, yet many truck operators persist in putting vehicles in poor repair out on the road. If a poorly maintained truck causes a serious road accident, the victims of the incident may be entitled to compensation from the truck's operators.
General Trucking Maintenance
Federal regulations exist to mandate the routine inspection and maintenance of commercial vehicles in order to address any potential problems. If proper safety practices are employed, accidents can be prevented.
When safety measures are ignored, however, innocent people can be put at risk.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Code requires a daily report on the condition of the following:
- Steering mechanisms
- Coupling devices
- Wheels and rims
- Service brakes and trailer brake connections
- Parking brake
- Emergency equipment
Potential Hazard-Warning Systems
- Lighting devices and reflectors
If any of these parts are not properly inspected, the following problems can occur and cause accidents:
- Tire blowouts and shredded tires
- Brake failure
- Missing reflective tape
- Broken taillights
- Defective couplings
- Defective air brakes
Of the problems caused by poor maintenance, brakes and tires are most likely to cause serious accidents.
The federal government details numerous standards for a commercial truck's braking systems. Trucks must be able to:
- Develop a certain braking force (based on a percentage of the truck's weight)
- Decelerate at a rate specific to their size and meet automatic brake adjustment system requirements
If brakes do not meet these standards, an accident victim may be able to hold the trucking company liable for damages.
The most common cause of tire failure on trucks and other large commercial vehicles are defective or worn out tires. Tires that have not been properly examined and repaired for defects or wear and tear may blow out or malfunction in a way that causes an accident. These indicators are easily fixable, but when left unattended to, can result in accidents.
Indicators of tire deterioration include:
- Tread wear
- Air leakage
- Sidewall damage
Additionally, commercial truckers make sure they are using tires that:
- Meet minimum tread depth requirements
- Are mounted with matching tire sizes
- Are not mixed with bias and radial tires on the same axel
Because of their size, trucks and other large commercial vehicle have the potential to be the most dangerous vehicles on the road. As a result, trucking companies must show increased vigilance in inspecting their fleet for potential safety hazards and acting quickly to repair or prevent any problems—both for the sake of their drivers and others on the road.
When they fail to do so, victims of accidents caused by their poorly maintained fleet may be able to sue for damages. If you are considering filing a claim against a trucking company over a poorly maintained vehicle, the accident attorneys at Arnold & Itkin can help. Contact our office at (888) 490-0442 for a free consultation.