Air brake systems have become more common in the commercial trucking industry in recent years, but unfortunately, these brake systems are prone to failure. When air brakes fail, it increases the chances of a trucker being unable to stop when necessary, posing a threat to everyone on the road.
According to Transport Topics, air brake system failures are too common. In a recent study involving almost 1,000 truck crashes, brake failure played a role in 29.4% of them. Driver error had a hand in another 87% of those commercial truck wrecks, and in some cases, both brake failure and driver error were contributing factors.
Brake failure caused by faulty brake systems
Air brakes need to have a regular stream of air supplied to them to function properly. Many brake failure issues occur because the brake system stops receiving the stream of compressed air it needs to operate as intended. When the brakes do not receive the air they need to stay open, they may lock up, leaving the truck driver with limited options.
Brake failure caused by inexperienced or negligent drivers
Truckers who rely too much on their brake systems to slow their vehicles endanger everyone on the road around them. Over-using a truck’s air brake system by keeping the brakes pressed down steep hills has the potential to overheat this brake system. When this happens, the brakes may catch fire, impacting their effectiveness and enhancing crash risks.
Many commercial truck crashes that involve brake failure also involve inexperienced truck drivers. As Chron.com points out, truckers must undergo training specific to air brakes in order to prevent brake-related accidents.