Commercial Truck Accidents: Braking Ability

Most trucks and buses use air brakes, which are much more complex than brakes in standard vehicles. Air brakes need to be carefully maintained, observed for signs of brake fade, and used appropriately.

If truck brakes are not properly maintained or if drivers do not drive safely, braking ability can be affected. A truck may not be able to stop in time to avoid a tragic collision.

At Associates and Bruce L. Scheiner, Attorneys for the Injured, our Southwest Florida trucking accidents lawyers have been representing injured clients for more than four decades. We can put our legal knowledge to work in your case. Call today at 800-646-1210 to schedule your free consultation.

Truck Braking Ability

Trucks have more momentum than cars and brakes have a harder time stopping a larger vehicle. While a 4,000-pound car going 65 miles per hour may come to a stop in about 316 feet, an 80,000-pound truck going that speed would need more than 500 feet to stop.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration published rules in March of 1995 designed to improve the braking ability of large trucks. The rules aimed to improve directional stability, institute antilock brake system requirements and reinstate stopping distance requirements for medium and heavy vehicles.

A more recent final rule from the NHTSA amended the decades-old requirements. Under new rules, a tractor-trailer going 60 miles per hour has to come to a complete stop within 250 feet while before it had to stop within 355 feet. This is a 30 percent reduction in stopping distance.

Heavy truck trailers are also required to stop within 235 feet when loaded to the “lightly loaded vehicle weight” and heavy severe service tractors must have a stopping distance of 210 feet at 60 miles per hour.

Fleet Owner reports that the new NHTSA rule will result in 227 fewer fatalities and 300 fewer serious injuries each year and could reduce property damage costs by more than $169 million annually.

Unfortunately, even with clear standards on stopping distance, braking ability can be affected by poorly maintained brakes or drivers who do not use air brakes properly. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration warns about the problems of air leakage; improper use of park brakes; malfunctioning antilock brake systems; problems with cruise control use; and other issues that affect truck braking ability.

Legal Help After SWFL Trucking Collisions

Truck drivers and trucking companies have an obligation to maintain and inspect vehicle brakes and to ensure that drivers use brakes correctly. A failure to follow rules or to exercise a reasonable degree of skill and care when operating a truck can result in a driver or company being held legally responsible for a crash.

Our trucking accident attorneys represent clients from offices throughout Southwest Florida, including Fort Myers, Cape Coral, Naples and Port Charlotte. Call Associates and Bruce L. Scheiner, Attorneys for the Injured at 800-646-1210 to schedule a free consultation and learn how we can help. You’ll Pay Us Nothing Unless We Win.

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