Equipment Failure

Defective Equipment is One of the Common Causes of Semi Truck Accidents.

The causes of semi truck accidents that cause serious injuries in Missouri and Illinois often involve truck drivers operating their vehicles with defective equipment. Problems with equipment often involve improper maintenance, truck brake failure, and defects in tires, steering systems, or other critical vehicle components.

Three semi-trucks driving on a highway at excessive speeds on the highway

Accidents Caused by Truck Brake Failure

Truck brake failures play a significant role in trucking accidents in Missouri and other states. This is particularly disturbing when one considers how often properly-functioning brakes might prevent an accident.  For example, if a tractor-trailer has adequate brakes, the driver should be able to avoid rear-end accidents, or be more likely to avoid such accidents. These issues are well-known to trucking lawyers in Missouri and St. Louis. One only has to look at government studies to realize how often innocent individuals are injured by negligent truck drivers and trucking companies. In one such study,   the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the National Highway Transportation Administration evaluated the causes of large truck crashes in the United States from 2003 to 2004. That study indicated that 23.1% of the studied accidents were rear-end accidents.  Click here for information on the Large Truck Crash Causation Study Analysis Series.

Trucking accident lawyers know that brakes in tractor-trailers are different than those systems found in passenger vehicles. While, the differences are many, a main difference is that many tractor trailers have air brake systems in which the various components work together to create and maintain a supply of compressed air that is used to transmit pressure from the drivers’ control to the service brake. The air brake systems can include the service brake system, the parking brake system and the emergency brake system. Other braking system components that can be important are steering axle brakes and retarder brakes (also known as “Jake Brakes”).

Brake problems in trucking accidents range from truck brake failure to brakes being out of adjustment. A driver of a tractor trailer can do a number of things to prevent these brake problems. For example, a driver should adequately perform pretrip inspections under 49 CFR 392.7 and postrip inspections under 396.11 to verify the brake system will function properly. An adequate inspection will ensure the brake system is adjusted to have sufficient control and will help avoid preventable accident by making sure that air levels are correct so that the stopping distance is attainable.

The inspections might include the following:

Defective Tires Can Cause a Tire Blowout Accident

Our experience as personal injury attorneys includes litigating serious cases involving defective tires. Tires often fail at high speeds and cause vehicles, including tractors, to become extremely difficult to control. Improperly maintained tires often contribute to tire blowout accidents.  If a tire is improperly inflated, it can lead to accelerated tire wear which can create difficulty with braking, poor handling, and reduced vehicle stability. Additionally, if the tire is not properly maintained there can be an increased propensity for a tire blowout accident.

A proper inspection of a tractor-trailer’s tires should include looking for proper air pressure, proper tread depth, cuts on the tire, tread separation, improperly contacting dual tires, mismatched tire sizes, combination of radial and bias ply tires, and cut or cracked valve stems. Some vehicles help truck drivers prevent tire-related accidents as their vehicles are equipment with commercial vehicle tire pressure monitoring and maintenance systems (TPMS).

Truck Accidents Caused by Defective Steering Systems

While not as common of a cause of accidents as defective equipment like brakes and tires, defective steering systems can play a role in causing trucking accidents in Missouri. Some accidents are a result of defective steering system components, such as defective ball sockets which can result in complete loss of steering.

Similar to other cases of defective equipment, a driver who is operating a tractor trailer can help prevent steering related accidents by properly inspect the steering mechanism and system. A thorough inspection could include checking the steering box for missing/loose bolts, cracks and nonfactory welds. A driver might also check for steering fluid leaks and torn or frayed hoses. When checking steering linkage, the driver should check the steering column, pitman arm, the drag link for cracks, bends, non-factory welds, missing castle nuts, cotter pins and for proper lubrication.   In order to make sure the tractor trailer responds to a driver, it is also prudent to evaluate the steering play (or freeplay).

Causes of Semi Truck Accidents

Excessive Speed

Trucking Accidents are Often Caused by Driving at Excessive Speeds

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Hours of Service Violations

Trucking Accidents are Often Caused by Hours of Service Violations

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Driving While Ill or Fatigued

Trucking Accidents Caused By Fatigued Drivers

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Load Shifting & Unsecured Cargo

Trucking Accidents Caused By Unsecured Cargo and Load Shifting

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Unqualified Drivers

Missouri Trucking Accidents are Often Caused by Unqualified Drivers

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Driving in Hazardous Conditions

Driving in Adverse Road or Weather Conditions

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Company Policy Violations

Truck Accidents Occur When Truck Drivers Violate Company Policies

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Truck Injury Attorneys

After a crash, our team will identify any potential liability for the trucking company or the truck driver.

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