What are the Most Common Mechanical Failures for Big Rigs?

Written by greg on January 9, 2019

As drivers on the road in Texas, we are likely to be near a big rig at some point during our travels. Houston is a major transportation hub for trucks so it is no surprise that we have to share the road with huge commercial vehicles. Unfortunately, that means that we also have to worry about accidents with trucks, especially those that have mechanical failures. Some types of mechanical failures are more common than others.

18-Wheeler Truck Accidents

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) gathers accident data from a variety of sources and publishes annual reports. The most recent report shows that more than 4,200 fatal truck accidents occurred in 2015. In fact, that number is about the same as it has been for the last several years.

According to a study completed by the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI), more than half of trucks involved in accidents had at least one mechanical failure at the time of the crash. About 30% of trucks had a mechanical failure that should have kept them off the road in the first place.

Common Mechanical Failures of Big Rigs

18-wheelers are more complicated than standard passenger vehicles and have more complex systems that need to be maintained. Some of the most common mechanical failures of big rigs include:

  • Tire Failures: Tire failures are all too common among trucks on the road. If a truck tire experiences a blowout while on the road, it creates a serious safety hazard for the truck as well as for other nearby vehicles. Trucks are quite large and heavy and therefore difficult to stop. When a tire blows it causes a shift in the center of gravity. The driver has to try to gain control over the truck in just a few seconds. If the driver loses control, the load can shift, and the truck can crash.
  • Brake System Failure: Trucks have complex braking systems installed that need to be checked on a regular basis. If the brakes fail, the driver will have little control over stopping the vehicle and the result could be a severe rear-end collision or pile-up.
  • Lighting System Problems: Because of the large size of a truck, it can be difficult to see at night, especially if the lights are not functioning properly. When the lighting systems are not working as they should, other drivers may not be able to see the truck until it is too late.
  • Engine Breakdown: When the engine fails, the driver has to try to maneuver the truck safely to the side of the road. The law requires trucks to pull off of the road when they have a mechanical failure and to seek assistance. They are also supposed to place flares or warning markers behind the truck to warn drivers of their stalled condition.

Truck drivers and trucking companies are required to inspect and maintain their vehicles and should not be on the road if the vehicle is not working properly. If they do so, they could be negligent. If you were involved in an accident with a big rig, we can help. We will champion your rights and get you the compensation you deserve for your injuries. Contact our experienced Houston legal team at Baumgartner Law Firm to schedule a consultation today.

Call 281-587-1111!

Resources

http://www.houston.org/newgen/11_Transportation-Facilities_and_Movements/11B%20W005%20Trucking.pdf

https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/safety/data-and-statistics/large-truck-and-bus-crash-facts

http://www.umtri.umich.edu/

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