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Brake Failure in Commercial Truck Accidents

Commercial trucking accidents are more likely to cause death or serious injuries than traditional passenger vehicles due to the large size and weight of these commercial vehicles.  In addition to the enormous size, other factors including truck defects, such as brake failure, can increase the chances of a serious accident with a commercial truck.

Between the years 2001 to 2003 the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) conducted the Large Truck Crash Causation Study (LTCCS) to examine the reasons for serious crashes involving commercial or semi-trucks. The study involved 1,123 large trucks. Of the 1,123 large trucks, 963 were involved in crashes. 249 fatalities and 1,654 injuries were caused during those 963 crashes.

The study further examined the causes of the aforementioned crashes and determined 10 percent of these crashes are caused by some defect with the vehicle (also referred to as an associated risk), including brake problems, tire problems, and cargo shift. Brake problems were determined to be the leading defect in commercial truck accidents.

If you or your loved one is involved in an accident with a commercial or semi-truck, it is imperative to consult an experienced commercial truck accident lawyer immediately. An experienced commercial truck accident lawyer will take every step possible to investigate the cause of the accident involving a commercial truck to prove the driver or the company’s negligence.

Attorney for Commercial Truck Accidents in Denver, CO

Accidents involving commercial and semi-trucks are common in Colorado. These accidents are common in the rural areas as well as along Interstate 25, Interstate 70, Interstate 70, Interstate 225, U.S. Route 6, and the surrounding major highways. If you or your loved one has been involved in a serious accident involving a semi-truck or commercial truck, it is important to contact an experienced commercial truck accident lawyer immediately.

Jennifer Donaldson of the Law Office of Jennifer L. Donaldson is an experienced commercial truck accident lawyer in Denver, Colorado. She proudly represents clients throughout Colorado, including Denver, Boulder, Longmont, Lakewood, Arvada, Aurora, Thornton, and the surrounding areas.

Contact her today at (303)-458-5000 for a confidential consultation about your accident involving an 18-wheeler accident. Jennifer Donaldson and her staff at the Law Office of Jennifer L. Donaldson will take a vested interest in your case. They will make every effort to ensure you are fully and fairly compensated for your injuries resulting from another driver’s negligence.


Colorado Commercial Truck Brake Failure Information Center


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Brake Failure

Brake failure is the most common cause of accidents involving commercial trucks. Although the design and mechanisms in traditional cars and commercial trucks differ, the brake systems in both types of vehicles are designed to stop the vehicle once certain functions are engaged.

Brake systems in commercial trucks are designed to withstand the weight of the truck, which in certain commercial trucks is around 80,000 pounds, and provide increased speed control. However, because of the enormous weight of the commercial vehicle, it is necessary to check the brakes more often for failure.

Like in any vehicle, brake failure can have serious implications, including the failure to stop at stop signs and red lights, inability to stop in traffic resulting in collisions and increased or high speeds in steep terrain.  


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Causes of Brake Failure

Frequent inspection of a commercial truck’s braking system is necessary because the same things the brakes are designed to withstand can cause the brakes to fail, including:

  • Overheating- Brakes stop the truck by causing friction, which emits heat. At times this friction can lead to overheating and failure of the brake system.
  • Heavy weight of the truck- While the brake system is designed to withstand the weight of the commercial vehicle, over time the weight of the vehicle can cause the brakes to fail.
  • Cargo Loading- In addition to the weight of the truck. These commercial vehicles are often carrying heavy loads or cargos. Improper loading or shifting of the cargo can cause uneven wear or increased pressure on the brake system causing the failure.
  • Worn Tires
  • Lack of regular maintenance

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Effect of Brake Failure

Generally, when the cause of an accident involving a commercial truck is brake failure there are multiple negligent or at-fault parties involved. Commonly, in an accident involving brake failure the following parties may be at-fault (individually or collectively):

  • The commercial truck driver
  • The party or company responsible for the regular maintenance of the commercial truck
  • The owner of the commercial truck
  • The company that loaded the cargo onto the truck
  • Manufacturer of the brakes

Depending on the facts of the case, the other driver may pursue a case against one, multiple, or all of the aforementioned parties. Generally, it will be necessary to consult an expert to determine the cause of the accident and determine whether the brake failure could have been foreseen and/or prevented but for a particular party’s negligence.


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Resources

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Office of Research and Analysis Pub. No. FMSCA-RRA-07-017: The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) conducted the Large Truck Crash Causation Study (LTCCS) to examine the reasons for serious crashes involving large trucks. Read the study here.

Colorado Motor Carriers Association- The Colorado Motor Carriers (CMCA) provides basic compliance information for all commercial motor vehicles and provides resources to necessary information sources, including the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), Colorado State Patrol, and Colorado Public Utilities Commission.


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18-Wheeler Brake Failure Accident Attorney in Denver

If you or your loved one sustained serious injuries, catastrophic injuries, or death during an accident involving a commercial truck, it is important to consult an experienced commercial truck accident attorney.

Jennifer Donaldson of the Law Office of Jennifer Donaldson has over twenty-five years of experience representing clients who have suffered extreme loss following an accident with an 18-wheeler.

Contact Law Office of Jennifer L. Donaldson at or submit an online form for a confidential consultation and evaluation of your case. Jennifer Donaldson proudly represents individuals throughout Colorado, including Denver County, Boulder County, Jefferson County, Adams County, Arapahoe County, and the surrounding areas.


This article was last updated on Friday, February 23, 2017.

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