Improper Maintenance Makes Truck Accidents More Likely
Considering their large size and the heavy loads often carried by most semi-trucks and tractor trailers, performing regular vehicle equipment and parts checks and making the necessary repairs is key in helping to prevent truck accidents and injuries. In Florida, an alarming number of trucks routinely fail to pass state inspections and are cited for safety violations, putting truck drivers and other motorists on the roads in danger.
Truck Safety Inspections
According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV), truck safety inspections are routinely conducted to ensure that semi-trucks, dump trucks, and cargo carriers passing through our state are properly maintained to help reduce the chances that truck accidents and injuries will occur.
When a truck is selected for a safety inspection, the driver is required to remain behind the wheel while a trooper surveys different areas of the vehicle. Common maintenance issues which are often inspected include:
- Brake related parts, including parking brakes, drums and rotors;
- Coupling devices, such as fifth wheels and tow bars;
- Fuel systems, which are checked for leaks, securely mounted tanks, and sealed caps;
- Tires, which includes overall condition and proper inflation levels;
- Vehicle steering and suspension mechanisms;
- Exhaust systems and other body components;
- Windshields and windshield wiper conditions;
- Headlights, taillights, brake lights, flashers, and turn signals.
If issues are detected, the driver will generally be issued a citation giving them 15 days to correct the problem. In severe cases, the truck will be placed out of service, and the driver or the company involved could face thousands of dollars in fines. In 2014, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) completely shut down one Florida trucking company after investigations revealed numerous violations and a history of truck accidents directed related to improper maintenance.
Truck Accidents Due To Poor Maintenance
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), it is the demands of keeping tight schedules and maintaining profits margins which often cause trucking companies and drivers to neglect routine safety maintenance. Improper truck maintenance is behind nearly ten percent of all fatal truck accidents, and is likely to be a contributing factor in more than a quarter of the estimated 83,000 truck accident injury crashes that occur each year. Crash data from the FMCSA indicates that the following conditions are among those most often to blame for maintenance related accidents:
- Problems with the braking system, which may prevent the truck from stopping or from slowing down in enough time to avoid a collision;
- Tire blowouts, which can other drivers to swerve dangerously and can cause a loss of control in the truck;
- Problems with hitching systems, which can disconnect or litter debris on roadways;
- Powertrain issues, which can cause the truck to stall or not perform properly;
- Problems with windshields and lighting, which can decrease visibility, making truck accidents more likely.
When these types of truck accidents occur, the truck driver and the trucking company may liable for damages. If you have been injured, call or contact Gregg Wexler online and request a consultation with our West Palm Beach attorney to discuss how to get the compensation you need to recover.