As Nebraska motorists know, large commercial trucks take longer to stop due to the vehicle’s payloads. Having good brakes that are maintained and inspected regularly helps. The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance and the U.S. Department of Transportation launched Operation Airbrake to bring brake safety to the forefront of keeping the highways safe. In 2014, roadside inspections of commercial vehicles showed brake-related violations about 46 percent of the time.
According to CVSA, Level IV inspections include checking for excessive wear on brake drums, pads, linings or rotors. It also checks for parts that are missing and fluid leaks. Since antilock brakes are important, indicator lights are checked to make sure no malfunction exists.
In addition, Level I assessments are used to determine braking efficiency using equipment designated for this purpose. In order to calculate braking efficiency, the weight of the truck and the braking force are used to determine if braking meets trucking standards. Federal regulations require that at least 43.5 percent efficiency be present. In 2014, testing in Nebraska showed 4.6 percent of brakes were not adjusted properly. By law, such vehicles are removed from service until the brakes are fixed.
Given the momentum of a large truck, being unable to brake properly may cause significant injuries to occupants of other vehicles. Maintaining the brakes is an obligation of the driver and the truck’s owner to others with whom the road is shared. Failing to maintain the vehicle can be viewed as negligence. A person who has been injured in an accident caused by faulty truck brakes may want to speak with a personal injury attorney about filing a lawsuit that would seek damages from the responsible parties.