Brake Defect or Malfunction, a very Dangerous Condition for 18-Wheelers

Adequate knowledge and skills are required for a person to earn a commercial driver’s license (CDL) and be legally allowed to drive a commercial motor vehicle (CMV), like a bus, a tow truck and , most especially, a big rig or an 18-wheeler. A truck is normally 70 feet long and about 40 tons or 80,000 lbs. heavy – clearly a potential threat to all other smaller vehicles on the road.

The Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1986 mandates that only qualified drivers should be issued a commercial driver’s license, and that those who are unsafe or unqualified ought to be removed from the road – this is to help ensure road safety at all times. This Act is enforced by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) of the US Department of Transportation. Besides this, the FMCSA also implements other rules that will help reduce the likelihood of truck accidents, such as the 11-hour maximum driving time, which is part of a truck driver’s 14-hour duty. This maximum driving time regulation includes a 10 consecutive hour off-duty period to make sure that drivers do not suffer from fatigue or sleepiness whenever they get behind the wheel.

With truck driver fatigue effectively addressed, the Department of Transportation is able to focus on other factors that are equally considered vital to road safety, such as truck defect and malfunction, specifically brake malfunction. This is because brake failure has been identified as another major cause of accidents involving trucks – accidents that usually result to severe injuries or fatal consequences. Factors that constitute a brake failure include brakes suffused with grease or oil, thin or worn out brake pads, overheated brakes, or worn tires.

Where trucks or 18-wheelers are concerned, brakes are among their most important functions. To keep these vehicles’ braking systems safe and efficient, the federal government has created standards manufacturers must strictly comply with. Federal standards require that a braking system must allow a truck to decelerate until it comes to a full stop at a rate specific to its size and a force based on its weight. Failure to meet federal standards can result to something that is much worse than just violation of government rules; it could lead to a catastrophic road accident that can seriously injure some individuals and kill others.

It is not unknown to The Benton Law Firm that truck accidents can have many causes and contributing factors, but many have to do with driver fatigue, distraction, or weather circumstances. Truck drivers may think they are driving with the utmost caution, but it can be difficult to maneuver a large 40-ton vehicle. Large trucks are prone to “jack-knifing” and toppling over if a turn is taken too sharply at too high a rate of speed. If you are the unfortunate car on the other side of a truck, you run the risk of being crushed by the truck. If such thing would happen, you should contact an experienced truck accident attorney as soon as you are able. He/She may be able to help you file the necessary legal action that may enable you to receive damages for medical expenses, lost wages, future earnings, and pain and suffering from the responsible party.

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