Maintenance-Related Truck Accidents
Far too often, accidents involving large trucks are the result of improper truck maintenance. In order to combat this, along with accidents caused by other means, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) was formed. It’s objective is “to prevent commercial motor vehicle-related fatalities and injuries.” In order to accomplish this mission, the FMCSA backs the development and enforcement of requirements that must be followed regarding the maintenance of large trucks. The majority of these requirements are discussed in the Code of Federal Regulations and understanding them is crucial when pursuing damages caused by an improperly maintained truck. At Banafshe Law Firm, PC, our tractor trailer accident lawyers understand these regulations and have the resources, knowledge, and skill to provide our clients who have been involved in an accident with a commercial truck the representation they need.
While truck accidents may be caused by a multitude of maintenance-related issues, there are some that are more commonly seen by our tractor trailer accident lawyers.
There are many parts that must work jointly for the steering on a truck to perform optimally. Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) §393.209 addresses the maintenance standards of steering wheel systems, including lash, column, and power steering systems. Common steering parts to present problems include Pitman arm connectors, the hydraulic fluid reservoir, and the ball joint connecting the drag link. The truck’s driver will often be the first to notice problems with the steering and they are required to seek repairs once they experience such issues. Failure to do so is negligence, and negligence is key to proving liability.
We’ve all seen the large pieces of rubber on the highway left behind after a truck tire has a blowout. These blowouts happen quickly and are a leading cause of truck accidents. CFR §393.75 provides provisions for proper tire conditions, including the depth of groove patterns and when a truck is able to use a regrooved tire. Common reasons improperly maintained tires cause accidents include underinflation, excessive wear, mismatched tires, improper tire size, poor retreading and air leaks.
It is essential for cargo being transported by trucks to be properly secured. CFR §393.100(b) states “each commercial vehicle must, when transporting cargo on public roads, be loaded and equipped, and the cargo secured, in accordance with this subpart to prevent the cargo from leaking, spilling, blowing or falling from the motor vehicle.” Methods used to secure cargo include straps, chains, and ropes. Whatever method is used to secure the cargo, CFR §393.102(a) states the tiedown assembly “must be designed, installed, and maintained to ensure that the maximum forces acting on the devices or systems do not exceed the manufacturer’s breaking strength rating.” When cargo is improperly loaded and secured, it can come loose while the vehicle is traveling at a high rate of speed and spearhead an accident.
CFR §393 Subpart C deals with the different braking systems on trucks and the requirements to ensure that they are up to par. CFR §393.40(a) specifically maintains that “each commercial motor vehicle must have brakes adequate to stop and hold the vehicle or combination of motor vehicles.” Compliance with these provisions is key in preventing accidents caused by brake system failure, some of the most common of which include:
Brake failure is often claimed by truckers as the reason why the accident occurred, as brake failure is something truck drivers have no control over. Whether or not defective brakes are truly to blame is a determination that can be made by your tractor trailer accident lawyers.
The more cargo a truck can carry, the more money the carrier can make per load. Being caught and paying a fine is a risk many carriers and drivers are willing to take. However, paying a fine is not the only outcome that can occur due to a truck being overloaded. When a truck is overloaded with cargo, the possibility of a catastrophic crash rises significantly. This is because overloading causes the truck’s center of gravity to shift leading to the truck becoming unstable. An unstable truck is hard to steer and is prone to rollovers. Overloading can also cause mechanical failure and causes the truck’s components to exceed design parameters.
A hitch is used to connect a truck with it’s trailer. When this hitch is defective or used in an improper way, it can detach and cause a dire accident. CFR §393.70(c)(4) states “the tow bar and the means of attaching it must be provided with a locking device that prevents accidental separation of the towed and towing vehicles.” Common problems with hitches include:
A working headlight is essential for safe travel when it is dark outside. Without the light provided by headlights, the driver of the vehicle cannot properly see where they are heading and drivers of other vehicles are not able to see the improperly lit vehicle. It is a recipe for disaster. CFR §393.9(a) states that “all lamps...shall be capable of being operated at all times.” CFR §393.11 specifies the requirements for all lamps and reflective devices. Common reasons why a headlight may not work include:
Our truck accident lawyers are prepared to handle every step of the process for you and you aren’t obligated to pay anything unless our representation results in you receiving the monetary compensation you are owed. Contact our tractor trailer accident lawyers at 310-273-7300 or on our contact page for a free consultation. We are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and se habla espanol.
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