Not all truck crashes are caused by a poor decision on the part of the driver. In some cases, these vehicles are dangerously primed for an accident before they ever hit the road.

Trucking companies are expected to inspect their vehicles on a regular basis and make any necessary repairs. Too often, this doesn’t happen. And one of the most frequently overlooked parts is a truck’s brakes.

Brake violations are not uncommon

Poor brake maintenance happens far more often than most people would guess.

One study, cited here by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), analyzed large trucks that had been in a crash to look for pre-existing maintenance issues. Researchers found nearly one in every three trucks had brake-related violations prior to the accident. With a proper inspection and follow-up, many of these vehicles would not have been on the road.

Yet they often wind up on our highways and streets anyway.

As the FMCSA’s Large Truck Crash Causation Study found, brake problems were the most common associated factor in large truck crashes. Brake problems were present in 29% of the wrecks included in the research. It is listed more frequently than speeding, drug use, poor surveillance, fatigue and inattention as an associated factor.

Demonstrating inadequate maintenance

If you are involved in a crash with a large truck, how do you know the vehicle had brake problems? It’s impossible to tell from the outside. That’s why a thorough, detailed investigation following this type of wreck is so important. You need to:

  • Demand evidence be preserved
  • Secure the truck itself
  • Obtain the data log
  • Obtain maintenance records
  • Uncover other documentation as needed

It’s a significant undertaking. But when you’re trying to hold large trucking companies accountable for their negligent maintenance practices, it’s often the right course of action.