Collisions with large trucks often result in catastrophic and fatal injuries. The sheer amount of force generated by a large vehicle means even low-speed collisions could lead to severe harm to other drivers and passengers.
The Scranton, PA attorneys at Foley Law Firm know that large truck accidents have many causes. While driver error may play a part in some collisions, sometimes the issue is the vehicle itself. With that in mind, let’s consider how maintenance issues with large trucks can result in crashes.
Miles Traveled by Commercial Trucks
The American Trucking Associations (ATA) estimate that there were 3.68 million large trucks registered for use in the year 2016. These large trucks carried roughly 71 percent of the country’s freight by weight; that’s a staggering 10.55 tons of freight being carried around the country. It’s estimated that the country’s registered large trucks traveled a cumulative 450.4 billion miles in 2015.
Dangers from Poor Truck Maintenance
With that much weight and that much time on the road, vehicles are bound to break down and require some form of routine maintenance. Unfortunately that is not alway the case. Sometimes fleets of vehicles in a trucking company are not given the attention they deserve. These vehicles wind up in various states of disrepair.
If a poorly maintained large truck gets back on the road, the risk of a collision is much higher. Even if the truck driver is completely safe, the hazards posed by a poorly maintained vehicle could cause major accidents.
Checking Vehicle Fluids
Large trucks require routine fluid checks just like passenger vehicles. It’s important that motor oil, brake fluid, steering fluid, and radiator fluid be regularly checked. Simple fluid changes as recommended by the vehicle manufacturer go a long way to keeping a large truck safe.
Noting Problems with Brakes and Steering
On the note of brakes and steering, any issues with brakes and steering that a driver notices must be brought to the attention of the trucking company. The reported vehicle needs to undergo a full inspection to make sure the brakes work properly and the steering is not in poor condition. Failure to check on brakes and steering systems could mean the difference between normal vehicle operation and a serious accident.
Noting Issues with Fifth Wheel Coupling
Fifth wheel coupling refers to the mechanism on tractor-trailers/semi-trucks that joins a cab to the freight being hauled. When there are problems with this mechanism, it’s possible for trailers to come loose, freight to shift during normal driving, and vehicle jackknifing. These mechanisms need to be inspected regularly.
Issues with Poor Truck Tires
The weight and wear put on a truck’s tires mean that trucking companies need to check on tires regularly, with an emphasis on proper rotation and replacement when necessary. A large truck with damaged or worn tires is a hazard to everyone on the road. The risk of tire blowouts and subsequent loss of vehicle control puts everyone on the road at risk.
Broken Lights Can Lead to Hazards
Even something as simple as a broken taillight, headlight, brake light, or turn signal could increase the risk of collisions. Many large trucks travel by night on highways and major thoroughfares. When lights on the vehicle do not function properly, other drivers may not notice the large truck in the dark, especially if it is slowing down or making a turn.
Contact the Attorneys of Foley Law Firm
To learn more about your legal rights and options following an accident with a large truck, be sure to contact our skilled truck accident lawyers. The attorneys at Foley Law Firm are here to help you with the legal process, providing expert counsel every step of the way.