Truck Brakes Fail on NC 321, Spreading Debris and Injuring 1

Debris from an out of control tractor trailer with brake failure hit several vehicles last Thursday on Highway 321 in North Carolina, a few miles south of Blowing Rock. One car driver was injured and taken to the hospital.

The North Carolina State Police reported that the truck driver had no brakes for eight miles and lost thousands of pounds of his load off his flat bed trailer. Trucks are supposed to go only 35 MPH on this section of steep, four lane highway, but the driver was going much faster after the brake failure.

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The big rig crossed the center line at one point into oncoming traffic, and one car was hit while another was hit by the siding that was coming off of the trailer.

The highway patrol admonished the driver for not pulling over immediately when he first noticed problems with his brakes. He has been charged with failure to secure his load and driving left of center.

Our View

Our truck accident attorneys who practice in North Carolina and Virginia are relieved that there were no serious injuries in this nearly disastrous truck accident. It could have been much, much worse. In another North Carolina accident, the victim wasn’t as lucky.

One of the most important things that all truck drivers should be doing before they start driving for the day is to conduct a pre-trip inspection of their rig. The Virginia Commercial Driver’s Manual states that the driver should inspect the brakes carefully. He should look for brake drum and shoe problems on the front, rear and trailer brakes.

Also, the truck driver should be on watch for cracked drums, shoes or pads that have grease or brake fluid on them, shoes that are worn thin, cracked or worn air hoses, and any cracks/dents in the air chamber.

A simple, 10 minute pre-trip inspection can ensure that the rig is safe to drive, and this simple act taken by all truck drivers each day would save lives.

We have represented clients whose lives will never be the same due to a reckless truck driver not maintaining his vehicle properly. This case led to a $650,000 verdict for our client, whose vehicle was struck by a truck with worn tires. While we were glad he won the case, his leg was shattered and she suffered from psychological issues and depression because she could not work in her previous occupation anymore.