Commercial trucks use air brakes. While air brakes do not allow truck drivers to stop as quickly as passenger vehicles, they are designed specifically to function with the heavy loads and large size of a commercial truck. However, air brake failures and defects in trucks do constitute one of the major reasons for Florida truck accidents. When the brakes on a truck fail, there is sometimes simply no way for a driver to avoid a collision.
A well-functioning commercial truck with good air brakes takes twice as far to brake as a passenger car. When air brakes fail, a truck may not be able to stop at all. Defective air brakes may be the result of poor maintenance or poor adjustment. They may also have inherent design flaws, which are a problem of the manufacturer.
Other factors may affect air brake performance as well. If a truck is incorrectly loaded or overly loaded, this can affect the air brakes. The extra weight and pressure can cause many things to fail, including the brakes. An inexperienced driver can also speed and handle the truck incorrectly, causing excessive wear and tear on the brakes.
Many experts believe that truck drivers should be trained and certified to adjust air brakes using manual slack adjusters. Many experts also believe that all truck drivers should check for brake defects before each drive. Unfortunately, many trucking companies do not train their drivers to do this or do not emphasize the importance of checking brakes.
There are many programs – such as the North American Standard Inspection Program – designed to remove dangerous trucks from the roads. However, it is impossible for inspectors and authorities to remove all trucks with poor maintenance and defects off the roads. If drivers, trucking companies, manufacturers, and inspectors were to work together to remove dangerous trucks from the roads, the results of inspection campaigns might be more successful.
There is no question that incorrectly maintained or defective air brakes have a direct impact on the number of Florida car accidents involving trucks which take place each year. When brakes on a commercial truck fail, the truck driver can quickly lose control of the vehicle, causing a serious multi-car accident. Many Florida burn injuries, brain injuries, and fatalities are caused by truck accidents which are at least partly the result of brake problems.