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Who is responsible if a truck’s brakes fail?

On Behalf of | Oct 1, 2020 | Firm News

Because of their size, weight and momentum, large commercial vehicles require significantly more space to stop safely, especially at highway speeds. As a result, truckers rely on their brake systems to keep themselves and other drivers safe on the roadway. If brakes fail, however, it can leave truckers unable to stop in time. The results for smaller vehicles around them could be catastrophic.

Unlike accidents caused by drunk driving, however, it can be significantly more challenging to identify the person or companies responsible for these crashes. Who can victims hold accountable after a truck’s brake failure causes an accident?

Truckers’ actions can increase the risk of brake failure.

When drivers notice issues with their braking systems, it is their responsibility to report those issues. Getting behind the wheel leaves them responsible for the harm that those faulty brakes can cause.

In addition, newer drivers may directly contribute to brake failure because of a lack of training or inexperience. For example, brake issues be the direct result of over-reliance on brakes to maintain speed while going downhill.

If manufacturers provided faulty brake systems, they could be liable.

Sometimes, brake failure is the result of faulty brakes or brake parts provided by the manufacturer. Damaged brake hoses, rigid materials and defective attachment components can limit the braking system’s ability to stop a vehicle.

Faulty maintenance or installation can leave brakes unusable.

Installation and repair services are essential for keeping semi-trucks safe to drive. If a manufacturer poorly installs the brakes or if those brakes are improperly repaired, it can make brakes prone to failure or entirely unusable.

Carriers are responsible for their failures to maintain brakes properly.

The ongoing safety of big rigs depends on proper maintenance of essential systems like brakes. Regular inspection and maintenance is the carrier’s responsibility, but many carriers do not maintain their vehicles as they should. This lack of proper care is distressingly common, and the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance has found that many commercial vehicles—13.5% during 2019’s Brake Safety Week inspections—have brake safety violations that should put them out of service.

If the failure of a big rig’s brakes harmed you or someone you love, consider speaking to an attorney about the crash. They can guide you through your legal options and help you hold carriers, manufacturers, drivers and others responsible for their part in this accident.