The massive height and weight of semi-trucks, tractor-trailers, and other big rigs makes them harder to operate and to maintain. Traveling at speeds of 60 miles per hour plus, a simple mechanical error can have major ramifications. While mechanical issues are often not a primary cause of truck accidents, they can make them more likely to happen.
Common Mechanical Problems That Increase Truck Accident Risks
A single commercial truck is likely to travel thousands of miles each year carrying goods and materials back and forth across the country. Weighing as much as 80,000 pounds, big rigs require regular maintenance and routine replacement of parts to keep them in safe operating order.
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), mechanical problems are a frequent factor in truck accidents. Among the most common issues that are likely to occur include:
- Brake issues: Faulty brake lines, worn discs, thin brake pads, loss of brake fluid, and malfunctions in anti-lock brake systems can have major impacts on a truck driver’s ability to stop or control speeds.
- Problems with tires: Over or under inflated tires, worn or uneven treads, and improper tire sizing can all make navigating a truck more difficult and increase the odds that the driver will lose control.
- Engine issues: Lack of proper fluid, issues with acceleration, and engine freeze ups can cause major malfunctions, making truck accidents more likely to happen.
- Damage to parts: Worn or broken trailer hitches, locks, bolts, and other parts increase the odds of loss of cargo, a general lack of control, and other mishaps can impact other motorists and increase truck accident risks.
Inspections Help to Protect Public Safety
The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) reports that more than 1,500 major truck accidents happen throughout the state each year. Of these, only a small percent can be directly attributed to mechanical problems. Much depends on the truck driver’s ability to respond to unexpected situations and any reckless driving behaviors they may be engaged in at the time, such as:
- Speeding and going too fast for conditions;
- Tailgating, improper passing, and other aggressive driving behaviors;
- Driving distracted, such as talking on cell phones or texting;
- Driving under the influence of alcohol, illegal drugs, or medications.
While not directly at fault, mechanical failures definitely increase truck accident risks. To ensure truckers traveling through Portland and the surrounding areas are adhering to safety requirements and properly maintaining their vehicles, regular inspections are conducted at weigh stations and at trucking company terminals. Truckers are also required to keep log books detailing mechanical issues and maintenance tasks. ODOT reports that hundreds of trucks are cited for safety issues and placed out of service each year.
Reach Out to Us Today for Help
At the Johnston Law Firm P.C, we conduct thorough investigations into truck accidents to determine how it happened and who is responsible. For help in getting the compensation you need to recover in a claim, call (503) 546-3167 or contact our Portland truck accident attorneys online and request a consultation today.