If watching large trucks thunder down steep California hills makes you uneasy, you are in good company. Based on their size and weight alone, semi trucks pose a serious threat to you and everyone else they encounter, and when those massive vehicles are also traveling downhill, it is essential that they have properly functioning brakes. At Hildebrand McLeod & Nelson LLP, we understand that brake failure is a common cause of today's trucking accidents, and we have helped many people who suffered injuries or lost loved ones in truck crashes pursue compensation.
According to Transport Topics, today's truck drivers need to do more than simply rely on their air brake systems to get them down steep hills safely. Air brakes can fail for any number of different reasons, and while some of those reasons involve faults within the systems, themselves, others result from user errors.
For example, an experienced semi-truck driver will typically know better than to "ride" a truck's brakes all the way down a steep hill, which is something less-experienced truckers are prone to doing. When they do so, it can cause the brake system to overheat and even catch fire, which in turn can lead to crashes.
Brake failure can also occur within the brake system, itself. Air brakes also require compressed air in order to stay open and function properly, but if the system is faulty, the brakes could lose that supply of compressed air. When this happens, the system automatically applies the brakes, which can cause them to lock up and potentially make the truck driver lose control. You can find more about semi truck and commercial vehicle crashes on our webpage.