Failure to perform truck inspection and maintenance can cause serious, deadly truck accidents
Truck driver error is the leading cause of semi-truck accidents in Kentucky, Indiana and Tennessee, due to factors such as truckers violating FMCSA Hours of Service rules, or negligently loading trucks which lead to catastrophic or deadly rollover accidents and other crashes. Another principal cause of tractor-trailer accidents is a failure to conduct inspection and maintenance of the rig and important components such as tires and brakes.
Inspection requirements under Kentucky and federal law
Before starting a trip, drivers must be satisfied that basic parts and accessories are available and in good working order. A load check for properly-secured cargo must also be performed. If applicable, the driver should review the previous driver’s vehicle inspection report and note any defects or deficiencies which may have been reported.
At least once every year, all interstate commercial motor vehicles must pass inspection. There are many ways to meet this annual inspection requirement, including roadside inspection, self-inspection, a state-administered periodic inspection program, or an inspection conducted by a commercial business such as a commercial garage, provided the inspection is compliant with FMCSA or compatible state standards.
Regular brake inspections by qualified brake inspectors are essential to preventing truck accidents
Recent surprise inspections conducted by the FMCSA and the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance as part of the trucking industry’s ongoing brake safety program Operation Airbrake found that more than one out of every six semis on the road were operating with bad brakes and had to be immediately placed out of service. Problems included brake stroke violations from out-of-adjustment brakes, as well as brake component violations ranging from air leaks and damaged tubing and brake hoses, to missing or cracked drums, rotors and other brake components. Based on these inspections, it is likely that as you are reading this, there are thousands of trucks on the road that should be immediately pulled from service until they can have their brake systems properly repaired or adjusted.
Truckers who are licensed to operate trucks which are equipped with air brakes can inspect air brakes, but they may not perform any brake adjustments or other repairs or maintenance, unless they have training or experience as a brake inspector. A brake inspector is a motor carrier employee whose job it is to ensure that all inspections, repairs, maintenance and other brake service meet all applicable safety standards. It is the responsibility of the motor carrier to only assign qualified people to work on brakes.
Routine tire inspection and replacement is critical to truck safety
Any driver is in danger of losing control of the vehicle in the event of a blowout, and commercial truck drivers are no different. In fact, truck tires pose a greater danger than passenger vehicle tires. In the past, tube-type tires on semi-trucks were known to overheat and catch fire, although this danger is less common these days due to technological advancements. Another danger, even if the trucker does not lose control of the truck after a blowout, is the hazard of large truck tire debris in the road. Passenger vehicles are at risk of a serious auto accident from either striking the debris or attempting to avoid hitting it.
The FMCSA recognizes the importance of ensuring that tractor-trailer tires are kept in good condition. FMCSA rules require that trucks hauling hazardous materials must conduct a tire check at the beginning of each trip and every time the vehicle is parked. Prior to 2002, truckers hauling hazardous materials had to stop every two hours or 100 miles to inspect their tires. This rule was changed as a security measure to protect the transport of hazardous materials from terrorism, but it had nothing to do with furthering truck safety and preventing catastrophic or deadly truck accidents.
Louisville attorneys committed to holding responsible parties accountable for truck accidents in Kentucky, Indiana and Tennessee
When a truck accident occurs, the Louisville personal injury attorneys at the Slechter Law Firm conduct a thorough, intensive investigation to determine the cause of the accident, including truck driver negligence and the failure of the carrier to conduct routine inspections and maintenance. If you have been the victim of a truck accident in Kentucky, Indiana or Tennessee, call the Slechter Law Firm at 502-384-7400 or 855-598-7425.