Commercial trucks weigh much more than traditional passenger vehicles. Some can even weigh upwards of 80,000 pounds when fully loaded with cargo. One of the most important parts of owning and operating these larger vehicles is performing necessary maintenance. Even if there is only one minor mechanical failure with a large commercial vehicle, this failure can cause major accidents on the roadway. Here, we want to discuss how poor vehicle maintenance can cause commercial truck accidents.
Large Commercial Trucks Require Constant Inspections and Maintenance
Information provided by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) shows that federal law requires all larger commercial trucks to undergo regular inspection and maintenance. The state law specifically points out that “Every motor carrier shall systematically inspect, repair, and maintain, or cause to be systematically inspected, repaired, and maintained, all motor vehicles subject to its control.”
The law goes on to say that every part and accessory associated with the truck must be in safe and proper condition at all times when the truck is in use.
Additionally, federal law requires that truck owners and operators maintain records of all inspection and maintenance for a specific amount of time. Annual inspections must be performed at least once every 12 months, but there are separate inspections that occur on a daily basis, including vehicle inspections by the driver.
The overall goal of federal law is to ensure the safety of these vehicles on the roadway. Unfortunately, our experienced Phoenix personal injury lawyers have seen any accident involving a larger commercial truck has the potential to cause serious injuries and property damage to those inside traditional passenger vehicles.
Most Common Incidents Involving Poor Truck Maintenance
Every part of a larger commercial truck is critical, but there are specific areas that cause major issues if they are poorly maintained. This includes, but is not limited to, the following:
- Headlights or brake lights. Commercial trucks must have working headlights, tail lights, and accessory lights around the vehicle. It is very simple to fix a malfunctioning light, but if truck drivers do not perform daily inspections and fail to notice when lights are out, this can result in major accidents on our highways.
- Tires. It is not uncommon to see a large commercial truck tire blown out on the side of the road. These are very large tires, and a blowout can lead to major incidents in various ways. First, if a tire comes off of a vehicle, the impact it causes on other vehicles on the roadway could lead to significant accidents. Additionally, a blowout could cause a commercial truck driver to lose control of the vehicle, thus causing a larger incident on the highway.
- Power steering. Power steering is one of the most essential features of a commercial truck. Without power steering, these vehicles would be impossible to drive. If the power steering on a vehicle goes out, this can contribute to the driver becoming unable to control the vehicle at higher speeds.
- Trailer hitch. The trailer hitch area of a larger commercial truck is incredibly important. This area bears the full weight of the trailer as it attaches to the front part of the vehicle. When the truck is in motion, the hitch area is under high tension. If this area is not properly maintained, the hitch could snap, and the trailer could break off of the vehicle and fall onto the roadway.
- Underride bars. Commercial trucks are required to have functioning underride bars to help keep vehicles from sliding under them in the event a collision occurs. If the bar is not present or is damaged, this could lead to vehicles sliding under the larger commercial truck, essentially shearing off the top of the smaller vehicle.
Do You Need an Attorney?
If you or somebody you care about has sustained an injury in a truck accident, and you suspect the incident was caused by poor vehicle maintenance, we encourage you to reach out to an attorney as soon as possible. When you work with a skilled truck accident lawyer in Phoenix, you will have an advocate ready to investigate every aspect of the claim to determine what happened and who should be held liable. You deserve compensation, and an attorney can help.