According to a study published by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), truck driver error causes approximately 87% of all commercial truck accidents (big rig, semi truck, 18 wheeler accidents, etc.). Approximately 10% of all accidents are caused by problems with the vehicle itself.
Federal investigators compiled data from thousands of commercial truck accidents over the span of three years. They identified hundreds of factors that contributed to the accidents. "Brake problems" was listed as the number one factor involved in commercial trucking accidents.
Factors like drug use and trucker fatigue which get the most attention are listed in the top ten causative factors, but come nowhere near the amount of truck accidents caused by faulty brakes.
Out of 120,000 commercial truck accidents, half of which involved passenger vehicles, that took place from 2001 to 2003 in the United States, 41,000 involved defective brakes, that is, 29% of all commercial trucking accidents.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigates commercial transportation accidents if they're significant enough to result in death or multiple serious injuries. Back in 2012, for example, the NTSB issued a report revealing that a Nevada commercial truck accident was caused by both driver inattention and bad brakes. The commercial truck collided with an Amtrak passenger train. The collision resulted in 6 deaths and 16 injuries.
The last NTSB investigation report was issued in July 2013. The investigation involved a school bus and truck collision at an intersection in Chesterfield, New Jersey on February 16, 2012. The NTSB concluded that the primary cause of the accident was the school bus driver's failure to observe the oncoming truck. However, the NTSB also noted that the truck driver's negligence as well as failures on behalf of the trucking company also contributed to the accident in the following ways:
- Truck was traveling faster than the posted speed limit.
- Truck was overloaded and exceeded the federal weigh limit.
- Truck was equipped with defective brakes
- Lift axle brake system was improperly installed by the manufacturer.
Truck crashes that are totally or partially caused by brake defects are not always the result of brake violations. According to the FMCSA, "Of the trucks involved in brake-critical crashes, 45.5 percent had brake violations, compared with 29.9 percent of trucks involved in crashes of the same type but where their braking was not relevant."
When people are injured in crashes involving trucks with defective brakes or blatant brake violations, they can usually take legal action against the truck driver, trucking industry employer and possibly the truck manufacturer. If this describes something that happened to you or a loved one, contact a Houston truck accident attorney at The Daspit Law Firm immediately. We will evaluate your case and provide you with the representation you need to get the compensation you deserve.