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Air brake failure a factor in almost 30% of truck crashes

On Behalf of | Apr 16, 2022 | 18-Wheeler Accidents |

Some Louisiana commercial truck crashes result from errors on the truck driver’s part, while others occur because of some sort of vehicle or system malfunction. When a semi-truck’s air brakes fail, it may be due to either a driver error or a system malfunction. When air brakes do fail, the failure endangers everyone in a truck’s path.

According to Transport Topics, a study of almost 1,000 commercial truck crashes revealed that air brake failure played a role in 29.4% of these wrecks. Of those wrecks involving air brake failure, most, or 87% of them, resulted from some sort of error on a truck driver’s part.

Air brake failure and truck driver errors

Air brakes become more prone to failure when a truck driver over-relies on them. Truckers that are relatively new to the job are more prone to “riding” the brakes when traveling downhill. This may cause premature brake fade, which in turn causes performance issues. Also, brakes may become too hot as a result of overuse, and when this happens, there is potential for them to catch on fire.

Air brake failure and system issues

In rarer cases, an air brake system may fail because something interferes with the air stream that the brakes need to work. The stream of air keeps the brakes open and working, but if anything stops the air from coming through, the brakes may lock up and cause the semi-truck driver to lose control of the vehicle.

Seasoned truck drivers with considerable experience often know to take other steps, rather than relying solely on the air brakes, to slow their trucks’ speed.