It is well-documented that vehicle accidents involving tractor-trailers are often much more catastrophic than vehicle accidents involving passenger vehicles. The massive size and weight of tractor-trailers make them extremely dangerous vehicles for anyone who is unfortunate enough to be a point of impact in a crash.
Federal and state regulations require trucking companies to take the necessary precautions to ensure the safety of other commuters on the road. Unfortunately – an often with tragic results – many trucking companies fail to take the steps to keep their vehicles safe.
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Commercial trucks should be inspected on a regular basis, as well as be on a maintenance schedule to make sure there are no mechanical issues that could pose a danger or risk of crashing. It is also up to the truck driver to also inspect their vehicles both before and after each trip they take.
The following are some of the more common causes of maintenance failures that can cause crashes:
- Brakes: Large trucks operate by air brakes. These systems are more complex and have many parts which can fail if they are not serviced regularly. Regular inspections should be done to make sure that the brakes are properly adjusted and watch for any issues with air valves, brake shoes, or any other parts.
- Electrical and lighting: A commercial truck’s headlights, taillights, and other lights ensure that a truck driver can see the road and that other drivers can see the truck. If these lights are not working properly, a truck driver may not see a vehicle in time to avoid a crash.
- Engines: If there are any leaks in a truck’s engine fluids, the truck’s engine can overheat or even catch on fire.
- Steering: If a commercial truck’s steering system has any issues, the truck driver can lose control of the truck and crash into other vehicles or pedestrians.
- Suspension: It is not uncommon for parts of a truck’s suspension system – such as shock absorbers – to become worn down, especially given the weight of the loads these vehicles haul on a regular basis. This can have a significant effect on how the truck shaking or bouncing around and interfere with the truck driver’s ability to control the vehicle and avoid a crash.
- Tires: One of the most dangerous situations with a tractor-trailer is tire problems. If tires are worn down or are overinflated, the vehicle can have a blowout, causing the driver to lose control of this humungous vehicle, leading to a rollover or other type of crash. Underinflated tires are also a danger and can cause a driver to lose control.
- Trailer Couplings: If the systems that attach the trailer to the truck are defective, worn down, or have other flaws, the trailer can become loose from the truck as the vehicle is barreling down the highway.
Victims of Truck Crashes
Truck accidents are more complex than other types of vehicle accidents and often have more than one at-fault party. Victims of truck accidents should consider retaining the services of an experienced Virginia personal injury attorney who will conduct a thorough investigation of the crash, including obtaining the driving and employment record of the truck driver, maintenance records, and other critical information which will help determine the cause of the crash and which parties are responsible.
If you or a family member has been injured in a truck accident, or if you have lost a loved one in a crash, contact a seasoned Virginia truck accident attorney to discuss what legal recourse you may have. Even if it is not entirely clear who is the at-fault party, a Va. injury attorney will be able to determine which party or parties are liable. At Shapiro & Appleton, our injury attorneys have represented numerous truck accident victims and have the legal expertise to handle these complex cases with positive results.