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Bad brakes on commercial vehicles threaten public safety

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance organizes annual inspection events to remove dangerous vehicles from the road and educate truck and bus drivers about the necessity of well-maintained brakes. During Brake Safety Week in 2018, commercial drivers in California can expect to encounter CVSA-certified inspectors who will conduct 37-step Level I inspections.

Inspectors will look for serious issues like broken parts, defective rotors, leaking hydraulic fluid and worn brake linings. Some inspection locations will engage in performance-based brake testing that compares a truck's braking force to its weight. The measurement rates a vehicle's braking efficiency, which needs to meet a minimum figure of 43.5 percent.

According to the CVSA, truck and bus operators need to inspect and maintain brakes at regular intervals to ensure adequate braking efficiency. Failing brake systems endanger the public on roadways and lead to accidents. The Large Truck Crash Causation Study produced by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration found that 32.7 percent of large commercial vehicles involved in crashes had brake violations prior to wrecks. During a one-day brake inspection program last year, 14 percent of vehicles had brake problems. This year, law enforcement agencies will conduct outreach to educate drivers and mechanics about the legal standards for brake maintenance.

Victims of truck accidents could have negligent truck maintenance to blame. An attorney might conduct an investigation on behalf of an injured person to expose evidence of inadequate maintenance before a crash. A trucking company may try to hide this information to reduce the payment of financial damages, but a personal injury lawsuit filed by an attorney could counteract these efforts.

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