Surprise Inspection Raises Concern Over Tractor-Trailer Brake Safety

by Terry Bryant

When a surprise commercial vehicle brake inspection was launched by a group of safety advocates earlier this year, the results were not reassuring for motorists. On May 3, 2017, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) conducted 9,524 roadside inspections across the United States and Canada and, as a result, nearly 2,000 vehicles were placed out of service for violations.

Around 12% of commercial vehicles inspected were placed out of service for brake-related violations. Many of the violations were related to “improperly installed” or “poorly maintained” brake systems, both of which “can reduce the braking capability and increase stopping distances of trucks and buses, which pose a serious risk to driver and public safety,” according to the CVSA.

Why This Inspection is a Concern for Drivers

A truck’s capacity to brake is central to the safety of everyone on our roads. According to the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS), the stopping distance of a tractor-trailer is up to three times longer than that of a passenger vehicle. Regulators have sought to increase the braking capacity of commercial vehicles over the course of several years to reduce the number of crashes between large trucks and smaller vehicles.

Regulations and advances in braking technology have likely increased the safety of large trucks, but the recent inspection by the CVSA reveals that far too many commercial vehicles are operating with insufficient brakes. That puts truck drivers and other motorists at risk for serious injury.

It is the responsibility of all carriers, trucking companies, drivers, and manufacturers to ensure commercial vehicles are working properly and comply with regulations. The CVSA is conducting more inspections on Brake Safety Day, which takes place on September 7, and safety advocates are hoping to see improved compliance with legal standards.

Tractor-Trailer Safety is of the Utmost Importance

In 2015, the most recent year for which statistics are available nationally, there were 4,311 large trucks and buses involved in fatal crashes, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). In 2016, tractor-trailers and buses were involved in 421 fatal crashes in Texas. That same year, in Harris County alone, there were 5,628 crashes involving commercial motor vehicles, which led to 82 incapacitating injuries and 30 deaths.

We are all invested in the safety of commercial vehicles. Houston motorists share the roads with large trucks every day, and it is vital that these vehicles are properly equipped with adequate braking technology.

If you’ve been involved in a crash with a commercial vehicle, contact Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law to learn more about your legal options. These cases are often complex due to the many federal and state rules and regulations governing commercial vehicle operations. If you’ve been hurt in a commercial vehicle crash, you need a truck accident attorney with the experience and knowledge necessary to handle these cases.

To schedule a free consultation with Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law, contact us today by filling out our online contact form or giving us a call at 1 (800) 444-5000 or locally in the Houston area at (713) 973-8888.