Braking Ability & Commercial Truck Accidents

Tennessee Personal Injury Law: Braking Ability

skid marks of braking a car on asphalt

The most common type of brakes on commercial tractor-trailers are air brakes, which are much more complex than standard brakes on noncommercial vehicles. Air brakes require considerable maintenance and careful, continual observation to ensure brake fade has not occurred. Braking ability may be impacted if drivers fail to follow the precautions necessary to maintain the functionality of their braking system. This may result in an inability for the truck driver to halt their vehicle in time to prevent a horrific accident.

Due to the sheer mass of commercial tractor-trailers, trucks have much higher momentum than that of passenger vehicles, which results in more difficulty braking. While a standard sedan going over 60 miles per hour can come to a full stop in around 300 feet, a full-sized 18-wheeler going the same speed would come to a complete stop in over 500 feet.

NHTSA Guidelines for Brake Safety

There are a number of rules that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) put forth in the mid-90’s to enhance truck’s braking ability. These rules were intended to improve the following:

  • Antilock brake system requirements
  • Stopping distance requirements
  • Directional stability

Amendments to the previous set of NHTSA rules established a 30 percent reduction in the distance required to completely stop the moving truck. If a vehicle is lightly loaded, it must stop at 235 feet, while heavily loaded trucks must stop at 210 feet. Recent reports have concluded that this amendment will save over 220 lives and prevent 300 more severe injuries annually. This could also decrease the annual amount of property damage costs by nearly $170 million.

Speak with an Experienced Truck Accident Attorney

Have you been involved in a trucking accident? The accident may have been caused by improper braking mechanism maintenance. If this is the case, you may be entitled to compensation! Schedule your free initial appointment with a qualified injury lawyer today!

Inadequate Tire Maintenance

Although these standards have improved the national roadway safety, improper maintenance of misuse of air brakes can still result in reduced braking ability. Trucking companies bear the sole responsibility of ensuring their drivers maintain adequate brake safety standards and are properly trained in truck operations. Failure to follow safety guidelines may lead to the driver or company being held liable for roadway accidents or collisions. If you believe you may be a victim of such negligence, contact our office today for a free initial consultation. We handle everything while you focus on getting better!

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