A recent expose reported in the Northwest Indiana Times confirms what Northwest Indiana truck accident attorneys have known all along, that a high percentage of semi-trailers traveling through the area are not in compliance with Federal Regulations.
Why is this important? Because when semi-truck accidents happen there are typically two reasons (1) driver error; and (2) mechanical failure. This report shows in Lake & Porter Counties that over 25% of all semis inspected were taken out of service.
Today I would like to talk about mechanical failure. One of the main problems with semi-trucks and mechanical failure is a problem with the braking system. Truck drivers are supposed to do pre-trip brake inspections – brakes on trucks can fail pretty quickly. Why is this so important? Because trucks are traveling at high rates of speed on our highways and carrying 10s of thousands of pounds, and if brakes are not properly calibrated or are worn, the truck will not be able stop effectively when traffic slows or stops.
From 2003 to 2008, over 34,000 trucks were inspected and there were almost 13,000 violations for faulty or out-of-adjustment brakes. So over 1/3 of the trucks that were inspected were violated. Remember the number of trucks that are inspected are a small percentage of trucks that travel through Northwest Indiana.
Let me provide a real life example. A few years ago I represented the family of a driver that was killed in an accident with a semi-truck. I kept on asking my accident reconstructionist why the truck veered to the left when the accident could have been avoided if the driver could have moved his rig to the right. After inspecting the truck, we determined that the trailer had two different size chambers in the braking system. So when the truck driver hit the brakes, the unequal braking power caused the rig to veer to the left instead of avoiding the crash. The accident reconstructionist had not doubt that the crash would not have happened if the braking chambers were the same size.
When accidents happen with semi-trucks the results are usually devastating. It is important that rigs are in compliance because when rules are broken people are injured or killed.
What are your thoughts about unsafe trucks?