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Truck Accidents and Brake Failure in the Central Valley

Over the past decade, the number of people injured and killed in crashes involving large trucks has escalated into the thousands. While some fatalities over that time period included truck occupants, over 70% of those who were killed were occupants of other vehicles involved with trucks. The increase in fatalities for truck crashes increased 4% from 2011 to 2012.

Central Valley Truck Accidents

Central California is full of commercial routes that extend from the Bay area all the way down to Los Angeles, serving Bakersfield, Fresno and Visalia. Along with normal trucking routes, the area is commonly used for transport of agricultural products and tools as well as construction materials. This creates a traffic environment with more opportunities for accidents which can do serious harm to smaller passenger vehicles, bikes and pedestrians.

When Truck Brakes Fail

There are many causes for trucking accident, but brake violations show up in three of the ten top vehicle violations found during inspections. In a Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance presentation, data from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration named those violations to be brakes being out of their adjustment, unsecured brake hoses, and problems with automatic brake adjuster mechanisms. Determining failed brakes as a cause of an accident could impact a judgement regarding liability and requires a thorough investigation for documentation. There are several reasons why a truck’s brakes can fail:

  • Overweight Trailer  The importance of weigh stations is never clearer than when an overburdened trailer takes longer to stop in an emergency.
  • Infrequent Brake maintenance  Without proper regular maintenance, truck brakes may work well for most normal stopping, however they will often be inadequate for emergency hard braking, just when it?s needed most.
  • Imbalanced brake pressure  If the truck’s brakes aren’t balanced properly, one side can lock up and cause the trailer to shift or skid. The driver loses control and might even go into a dangerous jackknife. This is an extremely dangerous situation for that truck as well as anyone else on the road near it.
  • Only using back brakes  Some truck operators cut costs by relying on back brakes for the trailer for full stops, along with down-shifting. They disconnect the front brakes with the intention to limit front break wear and maintenance. Unfortunately, this puts undue burden on the back breaks, especially considering the size and weight of the full rig.
  • Overheating brakes going downhill  New truck drivers often overestimate their skill in controlling a heavy truck braking ability on a downhill slope. This leads to the truck gaining speed which causes the drivers to apply brakes so that they overheat, leading to brake failure.

If you are involved in any accident involving a truck, you need to contact an attorney immediately. Commercial truck crash incidents differ from smaller motor vehicle crashes because there is typically a more serious level of damage done to property, more injuries and more fatalities. Processing truck crashes is more complicated because they require more legal forms, regulations, investigations and agencies to be involved, especially if there is a wrongful death claim.

Don’t let time pass before you have an experienced personal injury attorney with truck accident expertise begin their investigation. If you’ve experienced damages from a trucking accident, contact Maison Law Firm. We will help you sort out what compensation you may be entitled to, so you can get on with your life.


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