Air brake failure a factor in close to 30% of truck crashes

On Behalf of | Nov 18, 2020 | Motor Vehicle Accidents |

Commercial trucks are common on Connecticut’s roadways, and most of the vehicles truckers drive have air brake systems, which are among the most critical parts of the vehicles. These systems are prone to failure in two specific ways, though. When air brakes fail, commercial trucks become a hazard for you and everyone else in their paths.

Per Transport Topics, air brake failure has become so common in the commercial trucking industry that it now contributes to 29.4% of modern semitruck crashes. When air brake systems fail, the truck drivers may lose control over the vehicle and have nothing to help stop them from slowing their vehicles and colliding with you. Most of the time, air brakes fail because of one of two things: user error or a mechanical defect.

User error

Truck drivers should not depend solely on air brakes to see them down steep hills. Instead, truck drivers should use them here and there when navigating hills and rely on other means to slow their trucks when necessary, such as jake brakes. When a truck driver overuses the air brakes, it may lead to premature brake fade. It may also cause the brakes to overheat and light on fire. Research shows that newer truck drivers who lack the experience their older colleagues have are more likely to endanger you by making air brake-related errors.

Mechanical defects

Sometimes, air brake failure issues arise because of mechanical failures within the brake system. A stream of air keeps the brakes working as they should, but if something stops that airstream, it the brakes may lock up and apply automatically.