Big Rig Truck Breakdowns
Houston Law Firm for Truck Accidents Caused By Faulty Equipment
In Houston and throughout the state of Texas, Federal law requires truck drivers to inspect their trucks, trailers and loads daily. When short-cuts are taken in the inspection or maintenance, big rigs, semi trucks and 18 wheelers can breakdown on interstate highways all across Texas. When this happens, the results can be tragic. Truck accidents caused by faulty equipment on big trucks are too common, especially in and around Houston Texas. Malfunctioning brakes, signals, steering systems, tires, mechanical defects such as worn belts and leaking hoses and other equipment can easily lead to disaster. Usually, trucking companies know about equipment problems but ignore the problem to save money.
Whether it is done before the trip or after each inspection has to be documented and identify any defects or potential problems. In order to obtain a commercial drivers license a driver must be trained on conducting inspections. As part of the skills and road test driver must perform an inspection on their truck and trailer to demonstrate their knowledge. Once the driver passes the test and starts driving for a living these inspections become an important part of their daily activities.
If you were injured in an car accident in Houston or anywhere in the state of Texas caused by a truck it may have happened because a component or system on the truck was defective and failed. What follows are some of the most important parts of a daily inspection.
General Overview of the Front of the Truck
Inspections begin with a visual inspection of the front of the truck;
- Visually inspect the grill, mirrors, windshield and windshield wipers looking for any signs of damage
- Make sure headlamps and marker lights are not cracked, damaged or fogged
- Facing the vehicle from the front check to see if the truck is level to the ground and not leaning to one side or the other as this can indicate a problem with the suspension
- Check under the front of the truck and look for and look for any puddles of fluid which may imply an engine leaking oil, a leaky radiator or a damaged hose
Drivers need to inspect all tires, inner and outer sidewalls, tread and rim.
- Check to see the tire is properly seated to the rim
- Make sure there are no abrasions, bumps or cuts on the inner and outer sidewalls
- Tread depth must be at least 4/32 of an inch
- Check tire pressure as it needs to be at least 100 psi
- Check rim face making sure it isn’t damaged
- Make sure lug nuts are not damaged or loose, no rust streaks on the rim
- Check the valve stem for damage, make sure it isn’t leaking air
Engine, Steering and Brake Inspection
Open the hood and begin with the passenger side inspection;
- Visually inspect hoses, wires, and belts for damage, abrasions, cuts or cracks
- Make sure components are secure and not loose
- Inspect the water pump for any cracks or damage
- Make sure it isn’t leaking any fluid
- Check water pump belt for abrasions, cuts or fraying
- Make sure the belt is not loose
- Inspect for cracks and damage in any way
- Make sure the radiator is secured to the frame, bolted properly and not loose
- Check for leaks
On the driver’s side;
Air Compressor Pump (for Air Brake System) and Power Steering Pump
- Check for cracks or damage
- Make sure it is securely bolted to the motor
- Check hoses leading to and from for any damage, abrasions or leaks
Shock Absorber and Axle
- Check for cracks and damage
- Make sure axle is not bent or broken
- Check shock absorber for leaks
- Check mounting brackets and ensure they are secure and not damaged
- Make sure the power steering gearbox and fluid reservoir are not damaged, cracked or leaking
- Steering shaft is not bent or broken and has no more than 10 degrees of play
- Steering linkage is not cracked, damaged or broken
- Bolts and cotter pins are secure and not damaged
- Tie-rods are not damaged, bent or broken
- Make sure brake lines have no cuts or abrasions and are not leaking
- Brake chamber is not damaged and is properly mounted and secure
- Brake pads are not cracked, damaged or loose
- Brake pads have at least 1/4 inch or pad material and are free of any oil or other contaminants
Truck Accidents Caused by Poor Maintenance
To avoid serious injury, big rig trucks require proper maintenance. When Texas drivers or owners cut corners in the maintenance schedule, the truck may not operate properly and cause an accident. Whether involving the brakes, tires, mirrors or other parts, a poorly maintained truck can cause a collision on the highway resulting in serious injury or death. Trucking companies must perform annual inspections on their trucks to ensure that they will operate safely. This is one of the worst things a company can do to put the public at risk. Being cheap when it comes to truck maintenance is dangerous and illegal. The National Highway Traffic Administration also regulates certain aspects of truck equipment. For instance, heavy trucks with equipment must have and maintain brakes capable of bringing the truck to a complete stop with 250 feet from a speed of 60 miles per hour. Violations of these regulations can be shown by worn brake pads or the use of braking systems that are not made to meet these standards.
When a semi trailer disconnects from the tractor hauling it, other motorists are immediately put at risk. A domino
effect on the highway involving multiple motorists can cause catastrophic, fatal results. Accidents like these are somewhat common in Houston. Likewise, when a smaller truck with a trailer hitch shown in the photograph is not properly secured with safety chains, disaster can happen. Trailers can also cause accidents if they do not have proper brakes or required safety lighting. In addition to regulations for brakes on brakes on big trucks, the government also provides rules and guidelines for safety equipment on trailers. When there has been a serious accident involving a trailer or truck, it is important that the cause of the accident be investigated properly. If people are seriously injured in such a wreck, the insurance company for the trucking company will certainly act immediately to reduce the amount of compensation that the injured might be entitled to receive. This is why we always advise our clients and potential clients to seek the advice of a board certified personal injury specialist as soon as possible after an accident.
If a loved one has been killed or seriously injured in a truck accident, it is critical that you arrange for a personal injury trial lawyer to take the case. There is no reason why you can’t have an injury specialist working on your case and protecting your rights immediately. Contact the truck accident lawyers at Fleming Law, P.C. located in Houston Texas.