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Trucking Accidents Caused by Poor Maintenance

Trucks – even more so than traditional passenger vehicles – must be maintained to an extremely high level of scrutiny. It is estimated that commercial trucks will put on between 45,000 and 100,000 miles on their vehicles every year, and trucks can reach a million miles with proper oversight before being retired. If trucks are not properly maintained, they can result in tragic accidents and even fatalities. If you or a loved one was injured in an accident caused by a poorly maintained truck, contact the Massachusetts truck accident experts at Altman & Altman LLP today.

In a large-scale study conducted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which looked at nearly 150,000 large truck accidents over a three-year period, vehicular problems accounted for 10 percent of the total accidents. Of these, the primary causes of crashes were brake malfunctions and tire malfunctions.

It is not uncommon to see shredded scraps of huge trucking tires laying discarded along the side of the road when driving along any highway across the country. Tire blowouts are an incredibly common happening in an industry which involves driving hundreds of thousands of miles each year, and some of these are the result of natural incidents like an impossibly-small piece of debris which pops the tire.

In other instances, tire blowouts happen because a tire was underinflated or overinflated. Perhaps it was not adjusted to be driving in excessively cold or excessively hot environments. It may have been a re-treaded tire that was mean to be used temporarily but instead was left on long-term, making it an essential ticking time bomb waiting to go off.

Tire blowouts can launch the shredded rubber remnants of the tire into the air, and can actually cause significant damage to vehicles – and even more damage to pedestrians on foot, motorcyclists or cyclists. A vehicle which is struck by a tire may then careen out of control, causing even more damage. The truck which has suffered a tire blowout may also be at risk of jackknifing or driving out of control, creating a very dangerous situation for all on the road.

Another common maintenance-related malfunction is brake failure. Brake failure can happen for a number of reasons, such as a brake pad being overdue for a change and slipping or failing to slow down the vehicle. Large trucks utilize compressed air systems, which power pistons to apply brake pads. If the compressed air system malfunctions, the truck will be unable to adequately stop.

Maintenance is a crucial part of truck safety

Trucks spend more time on the road than any other type of vehicle, and therefore truck companies and their operators have a crucial responsibility to ensure that their trucks are adequately maintained and fit to handle the wear and tear which occurs during a truck’s long lifetime of driving.

If a piece of equipment or crucial component of a large truck malfunctions and causes an accident, there are multiple parties which may be held liable in the instance that people are harmed as a result. The driver may be deemed negligent if they were found to be aware of a truck having a major flaw and still took to the road regardless. A trucking company may be found negligent if they knowingly sent trucks on runs without the required safety inspections, or if they didn’t inspect trucks on a regular basis. A mechanic may be held liable if they incorrectly performed a maintenance job which resulted in an accident.

In the case of trucking accidents, the injuries which may be incurred can be life-threatening and result in costly medical expenses and time missed from work. The Massachusetts-based legal team at Altman & Altman has over 50 years of experience representing clients who were injured in trucking accidents, and we can provide you with the crucial guidance towards a positive outcome too.

Call us for a free consultation to go over the details of your specific case today at 617.492.3000 or toll-free at 800.481.6199. We are available 24/7.

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