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Truck Accidents And Brake Failures

April 27, 2011

Often truck drivers who are involved in serious accidents with cars or trucks, blame their brakes in a feigned attempt to shift the blame from themselves to a so called emergency situation. Our New York truck accident lawyers work closely with deisel mechanic experts and have extensive expertise in proving that these claims are largely bogus and driver error is usually the cause.

Accidents truly caused by a sudden and unforseeable brake failure in commercial trucks are rare. For one thing, department of transportation regulations require routine inspections of the braking systems for trucks and most trucking companies have established preventative maintenance programs which prevents mechanical components of the truck’s braking systems from getting to the point of failure.

New York personal injury lawyers who handle cases involving serious personal injuries or wrongful death as a result of a truck accident need to familiarize themselves with the mechanical components of the braking system.

Most trucks have two independent braking systems known as the service side and the emergency side. The two systems operate independently, such that a failure of the braking system on the service side will not effect the operation of the emergency braking system and vice versa. Generally, the foot brake operates the service brake and there is also an independent emergency brake. On most trucks, each wheel has its own brake, therefore these trucks have ten individual service and emergency brakes. These trucks also has a fail safe system, to prevent a brake failure as a result of an air leak, whereby if the pressure in the air brake system drops below 60 pounds per square inch, the brakes will automatically activate and stop the truck.

Air leaks are also apparent to the operator before they begin their route, if they a brake press test, by which they stepped on the brake and if there was any leak in the air brake system, the gauges would go down. If a driver steps on a truck brake and there is no decrease in the gauge reading, there is no air leak.

Even problems with an isolated component such as the relief break valve or the QR1 valve, are insufficient to cause a total brake failure. Both of which are valves connected to the rear brakes of the truck, however, a defect with the relay valve will not affect the ability of an operator to stop a truck because the relay valve is only involved with the rear brakes and the front brakes which are controlled by a different valve, are in and of themselves sufficient to stop the vehicle. The QR1 valve is located on the emergency brake, which is part of the rear brake system and does not affect the service side brakes or even the emergency part of the front brakes. the quick release valve cannot possibly cause a brake failure because the quick release valve is involved in releasing air from the brakes, which allows the driver to resume motion, however, it is not involved in the function of stopping the vehicleTherefore, even a problem with an isolated valve is not a sufficient mechanical explanation for a failure of the truck’s braking system.

The Law Offices of Michael H. Joseph