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1 in 10 Commercial Trucks Had Brake Violations, Safety Week Reveals


New data from the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance Brake Safety Week is raising serious concerns about the state of commercial motor vehicles that share roadways with millions of smaller vehicles every day.

Thousands of trucks out-of-service after brake inspections

Out of the more than 18,000 inspections conducted in the U.S., 12.4 percent (2,240) resulted in trucks being taken out of service due to brake-related violations.

Faulty and defective brakes contribute to many serious and fatal truck accidents. Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) underscores the situation. Despite CMVs like semi-trucks, tractor-trailers, tankers, and dump trucks constituting only 5 percent of registered vehicles in the U.S., they are involved in a disproportionate 9 percent of all annual traffic accident fatalities.

Understanding the problem can help drivers reduce crash risks and support important safety improvements. Here are some more highlights from brake inspection week and what's happening in Indiana.

Indiana truck accident statistics

Brake Week inspections were conducted over the summer. While state-specific information wasn't available for the campaign, Indiana data can shed light on what's happening locally. In Indiana:

  • About 5 percent of vehicles registered in the state are large trucks.
  • About 8 percent of all Indiana traffic accidents involve large trucks.
  • About 13 percent of all fatal accidents in Indiana involve large trucks.

National Brake Safety Week results

Nationwide, the focus area for this year's Brake Safety Week campaign was on lining/pad violations. Inspectors checked brake lining/pads for cracks, voids, and contamination. They also looked for loose, missing, or worn brake lining/pads. This is what inspectors found:

  • Of the total vehicles inspected, 87.4 percent did not have any brake-related out-of-service violations, which means that a CMV is restricted from further travel. Of the thousands of commercial motor vehicles that were placed out of service (OOS) as a result of campaign inspections:
    • 12.4 percent had steering axle brake violations.
    • 47.5 percent had stand-alone brake violations.
    • 58.7 percent failed the 20-percent defective brakes criterion, which states that a vehicle is out of service if the number of defective brakes is equal to or greater than 20% of the service brakes on the vehicle or combination.
  • Specifically, common types of brake-related OOS violations cited by inspectors during the campaign included:
    • Broken brake drums.
    • Loose air tanks.
    • Corroded holes in a spring brake housing.
    • Inoperative tractor protection valves.
    • Service brake violations like cracked linings, brake adjustments, or loose chambers.
  • Inspectors also took note of some brake-related deficiencies that didn't rise to the level of an OOS violation but were still concerning. Lining/pad issues were noted on 352 power units and 236 towed units. If left unaddressed, brake lining/pad violations may lead to more serious problems and can develop into out-of-service violations.
  • Of the 397 PBBT (Performance-Based Brake Tester machine) inspections, there were 18 failures, which is a 4.5 percent out-of-service rate.

Faulty brakes on an 18-wheeler can result in a serious or fatal truck accident

The law requires trucking companies and truck owners to regularly inspect, repair, and replace brake systems in large trucks. Operating a truck with worn-out, faulty, or defective brakes is negligent, and trucking companies should be held liable for the serious and fatal accidents that are caused as a result.

At Boughter Sinak, LLC, we have years of experience ensuring that those responsible for serious and fatal truck accidents in Indiana are held accountable. We know how to investigate trucking companies, find the facts that matter, and build strong cases for the compensation crash victims deserve.

Claims and lawsuits involving commercial truck accidents are complicated, but you don't need to navigate the process alone. Put a proven fighter on your side. If you were injured or a loved one died in an Indiana truck accident, schedule a free case evaluation with our law firm. We'll listen to what happened, answer your questions, and give you a clear understanding of your potential legal options. Contact us today.

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