Brake Failure: One of the Major Causes of Trucks Accidents

Big rigs or 18-wheeler trucks hauling and delivering goods to business firms and people’s doorsteps help drive the US economy; however, despite this major contribution, many motorists still dread the chance of sharing the road with them due to their huge size.

Crashed vehicles are often the site whenever accidents involving trucks occur. Whenever a truck driver rams smaller vehicles though, property damage is almost always the least thing one is concerned about; the more fearful consequences of these accidents are the number of those injured and the severity of injury sustained.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), both branches of the US Department of Transportation, work together to make sure that trucks are operated only by drivers who have been trained and are fully qualified to drive a truck. And while the FMCSA sees to it that the Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) program of each state adheres to the standards and requirements postulated in the Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1986, which says that drivers should be qualified in handling commercial motor vehicles (CMVs), while those who are not qualified and those who cannot operate a truck safely should be removed from the road, both government branches also pass laws that will help keep preventable collisions from taking place.

One law that specifically addresses the issue of safe operation of trucks is FMCSA’s stipulated standards on truck’s brake and brake parts. Brakes are among the most important functions of 18-wheelers; brake failure, on the other hand, is one of the major causes of trucks accidents. The most identified causes of brake failure include: thinning or wearing out or brake pads; overheated brakes; brakes getting suffused with grease or oil; or brakes and brake components failing to meet the standard requirements on construction, installation and maintenance which will prevent excessive fading and grabbing. A truck’s braking system, as mandated by the FMCSA must “provide for safe and reliable stopping of the commercial motor vehicle.” (https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/regulations/title49/section/393.47)

The law firm Habush Habush & Rottier says on its website that a truck or truck part malfunctioning can lead to a can lead to a terrible accident that can cause severe injuries, such as brain damage, spinal and neck injuries, broken bones, internal injuries, including bleeding and organ damage or severe cuts and scarring. A truck accident victim may be entitled to compensation from whoever may be determined responsible for the accident that occurred: the truck driver, the trucking firm, the manufacturer of the defective truck or truck part, or maybe even all of them.

Speeding May Not Be Safe, but Neither Is Driving Slowly

Speed always affects safety and mobility – two performance determinants of the highway system. Though greater speed means less travel time, it is also a fact that any increase in speed raises the risk of an accident. In fact, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), speeding is the third major reason behind fatal accidents; the first is driving while impaired and the second, not wearing a seatbelt. Though efforts to reduce the number of fatalities due to DWI and failure to wear a seatbelt seem to be effective, the result is not the same when it comes to speeding. This is because though many drivers consider speeding as a threat to the safety of so many other motorists and pedestrians, these very same drivers are guilty of speeding too.

Speeding can be exceeding the determined speed limit or driving too fast for any specific road condition, such as not slowing down when roads are slick or icy. There are different reasons why people drive at inappropriate and illegal speeds. Some of these reasons are:

  • Some drivers are not aware of what the speed limit is
  • Many do not consider speeding as dangerous or a serious offense and they don’t think they will be caught anyway
  • Drivers are not really concerned about the damage their speeding might cause since others will pay for it
  • Many drivers are either in a hurry or find keeping up with the other drivers (observing the speed limit) a pressure
  • Even when speeding, many drivers argue that they are still driving at safe speed

About 13,000 lives are lost annually due to speeding, which males aged 17-24 are most commonly guilty of. By traveling at inappropriate and illegal speeds, vehicles take a longer time to stop and drivers have less time to assess and react to any danger they are faced with. Speeding also makes driver errors more dangerous, causing more severe injuries, and can turn what otherwise would have been a near miss into a crash.

However, speeding is not the only cause of car accidents. Driving too slowly can also lead to involvement in an accident. This is because those around the slow driver expect everyone to be going the same speed as them. Other drivers may not slow down fast enough or will switch lanes too quickly, miscalculating how close the slow driver actually is.

Though research clearly shows that those driving up to 10 mph slower than the posted speed limit are more likely to get involved in an accident than those who are speeding, it does not eliminate the dangers associated with speeding. When a speeder and a someone who drives too slowly come across one another, it can be incredibly dangerous. The speeder expects everyone will be driving at least the posted speed limit, while the slow driver expects the speeder to be going close to the speed limit. This means they are both operating on faulty information that can result in a serious wreck.

Observing speed limits would be the best way to ensure safety and, if ever you are involved in an accident due to another driver who is speeding, make sure you contact a lawyer immediately to know what your legal rights are the liable party’s responsibilities towards you. You may be able to prove that the accident was not your fault, making you eligible for injury compensation from the responsible party.

Reckless Drivers: The Road’s Greatest Losers

Errors committed while driving can be too costly, as these can result to damaged properties or lost lives. Though drivers want guaranteed safety on the road and think that all other drivers ought to observer traffic and other road safety rules, these same drivers confess violating at least a couple of rules occasionally, yet believing that what they do is not at all dangerous.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or NHTSA the top three causes of car crash in the United States are drunk-driving, speeding and distracted driving – all driver errors either due to recklessness or carelessness. Recklessness on the road or reckless driving may be committed through the following acts:

  • Failing to slow down or stop on red lights or stop signs
  • Failure to use signal lights
  • Tailgating
  • Driving while intoxicated
  • Speeding
  • Allowing distractions (like eating, putting on make-up, using handheld phones, combing hair or setting a GPS system) while driving

The sad thing is, most of those guilty of reckless driving are younger people, those aged between 15 and 24 years old. It is a fact that car accidents due to recklessness could easily be prevented; it only requires drivers to be more conscious of their duty to contribute to road safety. And with more than five million vehicular accidents annually, with at least 35,000 resulting to death, road courtesy is one thing all drivers ought to be mindful of.

Safety always begins with you; by driving recklessly or carelessly, you may injure yourself or someone else. Causing a vehicular accident and injuring someone can be a civil or criminal offense. Justice requires that you be punished for disrupting order and that you compensate the person whose injury you have caused.

Chrysler Fights Vehicle Recall

Chrysler threw down the gauntlet to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) earlier this month when it refused the NHTSA’s request to recall nearly 2.7 million potentially defective Jeep Grand Cherokees. After two weeks of bargaining, NHTSA caved to Chrysler’s refusal and lowered the recall to only 1.56 million vehicles. According to experts, the Detroit-based automaker’s defiant challenge may set the tone for other company’s dealings with the NHTSA.

Automobile defects occur constantly in the United States–tires blow out, airbags fail, and brakes stop working. At best, such defects can cause a minor inconvenience. Unfortunately, many automobile defects are responsible for more serious problems including vehicle accidents and resulting personal injuries. 

In today’s market, automobile recalls are frequent, as the NHTSA attempts to improve highway safety by reducing the number of potentially dangerous vehicles on the road. In the past few weeks alone, hundreds of thousands of vehicles have been recalled, from 2006-2007 Honda automobiles with a possible loss of braking power to nearly 200,000 GM vehicles with high fire risk due to a short in the driver’s side door’s electrical system.

Recalls are costly for automakers, especially when the number of recalled vehicles stretches into the thousands or hundred thousands. Chrysler’s surprising request led to superior negotiations on its part, cutting the number of recalled vehicles and lowering the amount of service each recalled Jeep will require. It would have cost Chrysler much more money to issue repairs on the over one million cars it fought to exclude from the recall.

Though the NHTSA may have backed down, many Americans still demand a full recall of Jeeps with potentially faulty gas tanks. Last week, Jenelle Embrey of Virginia towed a 2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee to a nearby Chrysler dealership, along with 127,000 signatures she collected to petition the NHTSA to force a full recall. Chrysler continues to rebuff the accusations of defects.

The 1998 Jeep Grand Cherokee meets and exceeds all applicable federal safety standards,” the company wrote in a statement. “[It] has an excellent safety record over many registered vehicle years.”

This is a complicated issue that crosses the borders between public safety, government regulation of business, and business rights. While it may seem as though Chrysler should have no right to refute an order from the government, it also seems as though the government should not be able to completely control a business either. Nevertheless, this is certainly a public safety issue, so the right balance between these competing interests must be found.