Brake Drum Failure on Tractor Trailer Kills Driver in Illinois

A tractor trailer driver in Bolingbrook, Illinois is being blamed by the Illinois State Police for causing a fatal accident in early March on I-80. The police say a brake drum became dislodged from the trailer of the rig, and flew through the windshield of a car behind it.

The state police reported the truck driver was driving a 13 year old tractor trailer at the time of the fatal accident. It also was reported this week the truck driver has had prior brushes with the law. In May 2016, the trucker was arrested for DUI in Alabama, and he also was charged with two counts of domestic battery and one charge of resisting arrest in 2014.

Our View

Studies indicate that many traffic accidents are caused by mechanical failures, with about 12% of all auto accidents being caused by various maintenance problems each year. In spite of this, some tractor trailer companies will fail to do proper maintenance on their rigs to keep costs down and keep their dangerous vehicles on our roads.

Federal statistics reveal many tractor trailer accidents are caused by poor maintenance, as well. Because commercial trucks have a lot of miles put on them every year, these vehicles need to be maintained on a regular basis. It appears that the above accident was at least partially caused by a brake part failure. If that vehicle had been properly maintained and inspected as is required under state and federal law, it is possible this horrific car accident would not have happened.

Our Virginia truck accident attorneys worked a case a few years ago where a tractor trailer hit our client on a highway. Our legal investigation determined the accident was caused by worn and bald tires. The defense tried to argue that a sudden tread separation caused the accident. But we hired an engineer to inspect the Mack truck involved in the crash and to analyze any deficiencies. He found that the tires were bald, cracked and had been recapped. The tread separation that led to the serious truck accident was simply due to the tires not being replaced when they should have been.

Our client’s leg was broken in two places, and she suffered depression and psychological problems after the crash. Our legal team hired a vocational expert to establish the woman would not be able to go back to work other than sedentary work for which she was not qualified. The verdict in this truck crash case caused by poor maintenance and bald tires was $650,000.