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Brake Failure and Truck Accidents

Brake failure is a common – and terrifying – cause of trucking accidents in Broward County, Hollywood, and across southern Florida. In fact, according to the Department of Transportation (DOT), 29.4% of commercial truck accidents involve some sort of brake issue.

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There many reasons why brake failure may happen with truck accidents:

1) Mechanical failure.

Manufacturers of commercial breaks are required by law to maintain certain standards for their products. In fact, the law requires that manufacturers create commercial trucking brakes that allow for a specific braking force (based on the truck’s weight). Further, commercial truck brakes must be able to meet specific requirements for automatic brake adjustment systems and must be able to come to a stop at a specific rate (based on truck size). If brakes do not meet these requirements, you may have a products liability claim in Hollywood or your community against the truck manufacturer.

In most cases, mechanical failure occurs either because truck brakes are designed incorrectly or because some problem in the manufacturing process has made brakes unable to meet federal requirements for the product.

Sometimes, the brake defects cause manufacturers to issue recalls. If you are injured by a brake that has been recalled, you may have a claim against the manufacturer. You may also file a claim against the trucking company if they continue to use a brake even after the recall.

2) Negligence on the part of truck drivers or trucking companies.

Even if there is nothing technically wrong with the brake, braking failure can still occur if brakes are not correctly used or are not properly maintained. Both the truck driver and trucking company have an obligation to ensure brakes are properly taken care of and remain in good condition. Negligence can occur if:

Front brakes are depowered. Sometimes, truck drivers or companies will unhook the front brakes to reduce brake wear and tear and expensive tire replacements. In these situations, truck drivers have to rely on the trailer brakes to stop or slow down. Unfortunately, trailer brakes may not be adequate in some situations and reliance on them may lead to a crash.

Insufficient inspections lead to poor maintenance. Federal laws require truck drivers to perform a daily inspection report before each trip and require trucking companies to keep records showing that truck maintenance has been completed correctly. Truck drivers and truck companies should be checking for air leaks in the brake chamber, checking brake shoes, checking for loose brake components, and checking for brake performance. If there is any indication there is a problem with the brakes, a truck should be kept off the road until the problem can be fixed.

3) The loading of the truck.

Overloaded poses a serious danger. Overloaded trucks may be more prone to rollovers and heavy loads may cause extra pressure on the tires, creating a risk of tire blowouts. Overloaded trucks or trucks with poorly distributed loads also place additional pressure on brakes, in some cases causing brakes to malfunction and overheat. In these cases, the truck driver, truck company, and the company in charge of loading the truck may all be responsible if brake failure caused by these issues leads to an accident.

If you have been in a trucking accident in Hollywood or anywhere in Broward County or southern Florida, you will want to find out whether brake failure or brake issues contributed to your collision and your injuries. If you like answers and would like to know whether you have a legal claim, contact Flaxman Law Group for a free consultation.