Truck Brakes do not Fail by Themselves

A deadly collision that involved a semi-truck or 18-wheeler shut down Interstate 10 East near Sunland Park in El Paso, Texas. The accident, which occurred during the evening rush hour on May 23, 2016, killed two women and injured five others. According to the truck driver, he was driving between 50 and 55 mph when he crashed due to brake failure.

Brake failure may be the most common cause of truck accidents, however, one should realize that truck brakes do not fail by themselves. Truck brakes, according to a veteran air-brake-equipped truck (truck) driver, can heat up and cease to work properly or malfunction, however, to say that the brakes failed would be an inaccurate summation of the problem.

Crashed or totally damaged vehicles are often the sight whenever accidents involving trucks occur. Whenever a truck rams smaller vehicles though, property damage should be the last thing one ought to be concerned about; the more fearful consequences of truck accidents are the number of those injured and the severity of injury sustained.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), both branches of the US Department of Transportation, work together in making sure that trucks are operated only by drivers who have been trained and are fully qualified to drive a truck. While the FMCSA, specifically, sees to it that the Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) program of each state adheres to the standards and requirements postulated in the Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1986, which says that drivers should be qualified in handling commercial motor vehicles (CMVs), while those who are not qualified and those who cannot operate a truck safely should be removed from the road, both government branches also pass laws that will help keep preventable collisions from taking place.

One law that specifically addresses the issue of safe operation of trucks is FMCSA’s stipulated standards on truck’s brake and brake parts. Brakes are among the most important functions of 18-wheelers; brake failure, on the other hand, is one of the major causes of trucks accidents. The most identified causes of brake failure include: thinning or wearing out or brake pads; overheated brakes; brakes getting suffused with grease or oil; brakes and brake components failing to meet the standard requirements on construction, installation and maintenance which will prevent excessive fading and grabbing. A truck’s braking system, says the FMCSA, must “provide for safe and reliable stopping of the commercial motor vehicle.”

A truck accident can easily cause severe injuries, such as brain damage, spinal and neck injuries, broken bones, internal injuries, including bleeding and organ damage or severe cuts and scarring. “In the state of Florida,” as shared by the law firm Schuler, Halvorson, Weisser, Zoeller & Overbeck, P.A. in its website, “there are as many as 500 truck accidents every month, resulting in hundreds of deaths and thousands of injuries.” Being injured in a truck accident because of the wrongdoing of a truck driver or trucking company, a victim should never delay contacting a truck accident or personal injury lawyer, who may be able to provide him/her the legal help necessary in making the liable party answer for the damages resulting from his/her injurious or deadly mistakes.

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Hit-and-Run Accidents: Penalties to At-fault Driver and Possible Sources of Compensation for Victims

In road accidents wherein people sustain injuries or get killed, state traffic laws require the involved drivers, especially the one who is unhurt and conscious, to stop and provide all necessary assistance to the injured; it is also obligatory for the able driver to contact traffic enforcers (and wait for them to arrive at the scene) if someone gets killed in the accident. If both drivers are conscious and without serious injuries, however, then they should exchange information regarding their identification, contact details and insurance provider.

Though state laws may differ with regard to the severity of the crime and punishment to be imposed on drivers who speed away from the scene of an accident, the following are basic legal consequences:

Suspension or revocation of driver’s license (in some states, permanent cancellation of license is imposed);
Imprisonment and costly fines; and,
Cancellation of the liable driver’s insurance policy.

Since 2005, the yearly number of hit-and-run victims has increased steadily, causing the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to be alarmed. The Administration’s records in fact show that, from 2009 to 2011, reported hit-and-run cases have risen from 1,274 to 1,449.

According to the site of Pohl & Berk, LLP, Hit-and-run, which is also called hit and skip, leaving the scene or skipping and fleeing an accident scene, means speeding away from the scene of an accident to avoid responsibility over an injured victim. This act, however, only makes matters worse both for the victim and the liable driver. On the part of the driver, leaving the scene can result to either a misdemeanor or a felony. This means time behind bars besides the punitive damages and compensatory damages he or she will have to pay.

For the victim, seeking compensation will be quite difficult, more so if there are no clues that will help identify who the liable driver is. Under this circumstance, the hit-and-run victim will have to collect from his or her own insurance policy. In states where no-fault auto liability insurance coverage is required, the victim can apply for a no-fault claim, otherwise, an underinsured or uninsured claim is the alternative option.

Whether to look for clues that will lead to the hit-and-run driver and file a suit against him or her if found or file a claim with the insurance provider, the victim will surely need the help of a highly-qualified lawyer.

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