Hazards can arise at almost any time on the road, and drivers need to have control of their vehicle to respond to these risks. This is especially true of semi-trucks, which require additional space to steer or stop. When a big rig’s brake system does not function appropriately, it can put other drivers at risk.

How common are brake-related accidents?

Not only can brake failure cause accidents if a truck cannot properly respond to hazards, but it can also contribute to other issues. The Large Truck Crash Causation Study performed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) indicates that brake issues are a factor in more than one quarter of trucking accidents. This makes brake issues the top contributing factor in accidents addressed by this study.

Do carriers and other parties contribute to the risk of brake failure?

One of the most important factors in a truck’s ability to stop safely is proper brake maintenance by the carrier. Unfortunately, not every carrier performs maintenance as often or as comprehensively as they should, and these maintenance issues are surprisingly common. In fact, inspections performed by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) during their annual Brake Safety Week indicated that around 13.5 percent of American vehicles had brake issues that should have put them out of service.

Manufacturers and maintenance providers may also contribute to brake issues. If any piece of a truck’s complex braking system has manufacturing defects or is repaired poorly, that piece may cause the brakes to work poorly, intermittently or not at all.

A wide variety of parties take part in keeping large commercial vehicles fully and safely operational. When people or companies contribute to an accident caused by semi-truck brake failure, people harmed by these accidents can hold them responsible.