Semi-trucks are essential to the transportation industry, but they can also be a significant safety hazard if they experience mechanical failures while on the road. Mechanical failures can occur at any time and without warning, and they can cause accidents that result in severe injuries or even fatalities. In this blog, we will discuss the most common mechanical failures for semi-trucks that cause Colorado trucking accidents – and how to prevent them.
18-Wheeler Truck Accidents
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) gathers accident data from various sources and publishes annual reports. The most recent report shows more than 4,200 fatal truck accidents. Information on the number of accidents is shocking.
Safety must become a priority for trucking companies to prevent crashes.
The Link Between Accidents & Mechanical Failures
According to a study completed by the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI), more than half of trucks involved in accidents had at least one mechanical failure at the time of the crash. About 30% of trucks had a mechanical failure that should have kept them off the road in the first place. A dangerous semi-truck or 18-wheeler must be placed “out-of-service” until the condition has been fixed.
Common Mechanical failures of 18-Wheeler Trucks
Brake failure is one of the most common mechanical failures for semi-trucks, and it can cause serious accidents. When a truck’s brakes fail, the driver may be unable to slow down or stop the vehicle, leading to collisions. The most common causes of brake failure include worn-out brake pads, leaks in the brake system, or air pressure loss.
To prevent brake failure, regular maintenance is crucial. Drivers and fleet managers should perform routine checks on brake systems, including checking brake fluid levels, inspecting brake pads and rotors for wear, and checking for leaks in the brake lines.
Tire failures are another common cause of accidents involving semi-trucks. Blowouts occur when a tire suddenly bursts, often due to overloading or underinflation. When a tire blows out, the driver may lose control of the vehicle, resulting in a crash.
To prevent tire blowouts, it’s important to ensure that tires are properly inflated and not overloaded. Drivers should also inspect tires regularly for signs of wear or damage, such as bulges or cracks.
Steering System Failure
The steering system of a semi-truck is responsible for controlling the direction of the vehicle. If the steering system fails, the driver may lose control of the truck, leading to an accident. The most common causes of steering system failure include worn-out or damaged steering components, leaks in the power steering system, or misaligned wheels.
To prevent steering system failure, regular maintenance is crucial. Drivers and fleet managers should perform routine checks on the steering system, including checking for leaks in the power steering system, inspecting steering components for wear or damage, and ensuring that wheels are properly aligned.
The transmission of a semi-truck is responsible for transferring power from the engine to the wheels. If the transmission fails, the driver may be unable to control the vehicle’s speed or direction, resulting in an accident. The most common causes of transmission failure include wear and tear on the transmission components or low transmission fluid levels.
To prevent transmission failure, regular maintenance is crucial. Drivers and fleet managers should perform routine checks on the transmission, including checking fluid levels, inspecting transmission components for wear, and addressing any warning signs such as slipping gears or strange noises.
Electrical System Failure
The electrical system of a semi-truck is responsible for controlling various functions, including lights, signals, and the engine. If the electrical system fails, the driver may lose control of the vehicle or not be able to communicate properly with other drivers, leading to accidents.
To prevent electrical system failure, regular maintenance is crucial. Drivers and fleet managers should perform routine checks on the electrical system, including checking the battery, inspecting the alternator, and addressing any warning signs such as flickering lights or slow engine start-up.
Contact Colorado’s Trucking Accident Lawyers
Mechanical failures are a leading cause of accidents involving semi-trucks. Contact our Colorado trucking accident lawyers at Bowman Law firm located in Denver, Colorado and serving the surrounding areas including Boulder, Colorado Springs, and Fort Collins. Contact us today for a free consultation.
Owner and Managing Attorney
Jerry Bowman, J.D., M.A., Owner and managing attorney of Bowman Law LLC, takes his responsibility to the legal profession seriously and dedicates his time and effort to providing quality and competent legal representation to clients in Denver and throughout all of Colorado. He holds an MA in Political Science from Wayne State University and earned his law degree in two and a half years from Michigan State University College of Law.