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Could Maintenance Issues Cause a Truck Accident?

By Marc A. Johnston, posted in Truck Accidents on December 18, 2019

Tractor-trailers, semi-trucks, and other big rigs are massive machines that can easily weigh up to 80,000 pounds. When truck accidents happen on busy roads and freeways throughout Portland, it is often other motorists on the road who suffer the most serious impacts. While the reckless actions on the part of the truck driver often play a leading role in these crashes, a lack of proper maintenance can make them more likely to occur. 

Proper Maintenance is Key to Trucking Safety

Trucks are massive machines. While we rely on them to deliver products and goods we use on a daily basis, their size, weight, and the challenges of handling a big rig require extensive oversight. This includes monitoring maintenance on most big rigs to ensure they are functioning properly. The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) follows federal guidelines when it comes to conducting periodic safety inspections. Areas they check that can cause a truck accident if not properly maintained include: 

  • Tires: Making sure tires are in good condition and properly inflated is a top priority;
  • Brakes: In addition to tires, poorly functioning brake systems are a leading cause of truck accidents;
  • Coupling devices: When these devices are damaged or improperly secured, the truck trailer can come loose from the cab;
  • Fuel system: Particulates in the fuel system can cause sudden stops and breakdowns on highways, increasing truck accident risks;
  • Lighting systems: Head, tail, and brake lights, as well as turn signals, increase visibility for the truck driver and others on the road;
  • Steering column: Trucks are hard to navigate in general and problems with the steering column can make it impossible to avoid a truck accident;
  • Windshield wipers: Rainy and foggy conditions in Portland decrease visibility and increase truck accident risks in general. 

In addition to inspections conducted by the state, it is important for truck drivers and the companies they work for to stay on top of the above issues and provide regular, routine maintenance. Failing to do so could make them liable when truck accidents happen. 

Who Is Responsible for Truck Accidents Caused By Maintenance Failures?

According to statistics from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), nearly 500,000 truck accidents occur throughout the country each year. In roughly 70 percent of cases, loss of control of the truck was the primary cause. Maintenance issues make this more likely to happen. When a truck accident does occur due to lack of proper maintenance and leaves you suffering serious personal injuries, there are several parties who may be held accountable in a claim: 

  • The truck driver, for failing to provide routine maintenance and safety checks on the truck;
  • The trucking company, for failing to ensure all transport vehicles being used were safe and properly inspected;
  • The truck manufacturer or parts supplier, for selling trucks or parts that were defective. 

Contact Us Today for Help

When truck accidents happen, the Johnston Law Firm, P.C. helps you hold those responsible accountable in a claim. Call (503) 546-3167 or contact our Portland truck accident attorneys online and request a consultation today. 

 

Marc Johnston
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