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Brake Failure Can Mean Serious Accident Risk from Runaway Tractor-Trailer

August 01, 2011

One of the most frightening experiences for a driver traveling down a Georgia freeway or approaching an Atlanta intersection is to depress the brake pedal and have nothing happen. Brakes that malfunction are one of the most dangerous types of vehicle equipment failures and can easily cause a serious auto accident.

Fortunately, advancements in brake technology have made brake malfunctions relatively uncommon in passenger vehicles. Brakes now installed in motor vehicles will function even if one side of the circuits fails. However, brake failure remains a significant cause of commercial trucking accidents.

If you are involved in a Georgia trucking accident, an experienced Georgia trucking accident lawyer will need to investigate the maintenance and safety regulations for the vehicle, driver and trucking company. When the brakes on a tractor-trailer overheat, they can malfunction. This type of commercial truck brake failure is frequently the result of poor maintenance or even a failure to load the commercial truck properly. Most commercial trucks use an air brake system. When the brake drum overheats to dangerous levels, the effectiveness of the brakes may be impacted.

Brake system failure in commercial trucks may also occur as a tractor-trailer is negotiating a steep downhill grade. A truck driver generally should pump the brakes for short periods of time to slowly decrease the speed of the commercial truck. Truck drivers who have received proper training are aware of the risk posed by negotiating steep inclines while operating a commercial big-rig that can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. Sometimes trucking companies entrust commercial trucks to inexperienced or poorly trained drivers with tragic results. Georgia roadways with steep grades often have ramps that look like exits that function as a safety precaution to stop runaway trucks that are experiencing brake failure or brake system malfunctions. These special ramps are an acknowledgement of the risk posed by runaway trucks.

Whether it is a result of driver error, or poorly maintained brakes or both, trucking accidents related to malfunctioning brake systems or improperly used brakes can cause devastating Georgia tractor-trailer accidents. There are strict requirements imposed by federal law regarding the maintenance and functioning of both air brakes and hydraulic brakes depending on how the truck is equipped. Commercial truck drivers have a legal duty to regularly inspect their tractor-trailer for visible defects or mechanical problems. The trucking company is also bound by federal regulation to subject the brakes to regular inspections and maintenance.

Defective trucking accidents caused by brake failure may also be the result of defective design or manufacture of brake system components. If the brake components or brake system is defective in their design or manufacturing, the company that produced the brakes may be liable for the defective product. If you or someone you love is injured in a Georgia trucking accident caused by brake failure or any other negligence by the driver or trucking company, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. At Montlick and Associates, Attorneys at Law, we have been representing Georgia trucking accident victims for over 39 years. We consistently seek the best possible outcome for our clients as part of our commitment to developing a reputation as the leading trucking accident law firm in Atlanta and throughout Georgia.

Our Georgia trucking accident lawyers are available to assist clients throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state. No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.

Category: Truck Accidents

Please Note:
All information provided by our blogs is general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Consult a Montlick attorney for details about your unique situation.