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Faulty Truck Braking Systems

Braking Ability and Large Truck Accidents

As you would expect, large trucks are equipped with specialized braking systems due to the weigh of the vehicles and the distribution of that weight. Failure of one or more elements of these braking systems can lead to serious accidents and devasting injuries to other motorists. Our firm has handled hundreds of serious accidents involving trucks and one key component of all of our investigations is a thorough inspection of the truck’s braking system and data recorder that will show what actions the truck driver took immediately before the accident. We use experts in truck safety and accident reconstruction to perform these inspections. More often than not, inspection of a truck’s braking system will reveal either defects or lack of maintenance (or both). This evidence is obviously crucial to obtaining a favorable outcome for our clients.

Some of the components of truck braking systems and speed control mechanisms that our expert consultants inspect are:

  • Air brakes - These are for slowing and stopping a truck. They consist of an air compressor and pressure system. There are also air pressure gauges located between the axles. Warning systems are dispatched to alert low pressure and leaks.
  • Anti-lock braking system - A system that is designed to monitor the activity of the truck and initiates the traction control and wheel lock if the truck starts to skid.
  • Traction control - A system that permits automated stability control along with anti-roll technology.
  • Retarders - An alternate utilization of brakes to decelerate the truck and can consist of features such as engine compression, driveline retarders, and exhaust brakes.
  • Cruise control - Stabilizes the speed of a truck, but should not be utilized in hazardous weather conditions, locations with heavy traffic, or at a time where a driver is feeling fatigued.
  • Parking brakes - Brakes that should only be applied to secure the truck in a stationary position when parked and should never be used when the vehicle is in motion.

There are 3 million large trucks weighing in excess of 80,000 pounds operating throughout the United States on any given day. If any of these trucks collide with another vehicle or object they can cause serious and devastating damage. It is therefore imperative that all braking systems are able to effectively stop a tractor-trailer in any emergency situation.

In a recent case we handled where our client suffered serious, permanent injuries when her vehicle was hit by a truck, the truck driver argued that he did nothing wrong and that the accident was due to our client braking suddenly. Our expert consultant obtained the data recorder from the truck and was able to show that the truck driver engaged in sudden braking during the hour that led up to the accident far more frequently than would be expected. This demonstrated that either the truck driver did not know how to drive properly or, as we argued, he was driving too close to vehicles in front of him, including our client’s vehicle. The data recorder also demonstrated that the driver’s braking immediately before the collision was so brief that he was, as our client claimed, tailgating her. This evidence, combined with evidence of the skid marks left on the road was sufficient to convince the insurance company that the truck driver was not telling the truth and enabled us to favorably resolve the case for our client.

Peter Thompson & Associates: New Hampshire’s Leading Truck Accident Legal Experts

If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident resulting from a truck driver and suffered serious injuries, you should immediately contact an experienced truck accident attorney so that an investigation can begin without delay. Although the State Police will investigate any accident involving a commercial motor vehicle and generally do a very good job gathering evidence, our experts routinely find additional evidence such as defects in the braking system that turned out to be critical to obtaining a favorable settlement for our clients. Contact Peter Thompson & Associates to ensure that your rights and interests are protected and that you receive full compensation for your injuries. Call us at 800.804.2004 to schedule consultation or fill out our website’s “Contact Us” form.