Many commercial truck wrecks that occur across Tennessee and the rest of the United States share similar elements in common. Air brake failure is one such element, and it is a frequent contributor to semi-truck crashes. While some instances of air brake failure result from malfunctions within the brake systems, others are the result of truck driver errors and are therefore avoidable.
Per Transport Topics, a 2006 study of commercial truck wrecks revealed that air brake failure was the most common equipment-related cause of them. It also showed that brake failure issues contribute to almost 30% of all semi-truck crashes across the United States.
Air brake failure and system malfunctions
Air brakes work when they get a steady stream of air that keeps them in operation. In rare instances, something in the system interferes with that airstream. When the brakes stop receiving compressed air, they lock and apply themselves automatically. This may result in a trucker losing control and crashing into other vehicles.
Air brake failure and trucker errors
Many semi-truck wrecks result from truck drivers making errors that impact the efficacy of the air brake system. Overusing the brakes, and particularly when maneuvering down steep hills, may lead to early brake fade or the brakes overheating. When the brakes overheat, there is potential for them to fail, catch fire or both. Estimates suggest that truck driver errors contribute to about 87% of today’s commercial truck crashes.
Research shows that more experienced truck drivers often know how to avoid overusing the brakes, while younger, less-seasoned truckers are more prone to making this mistake.