Young & McCarthy LLP

Maintaining truck brakes in the wake of Brake Safety Week

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance has already conducted its brake inspection spree for the year, but commercial truck drivers in Ohio should not feel that they can now neglect their brakes. The fleet tracking and management systems company Teletrac Navman offers some tips to truck drivers and fleet owners on how they can maintain brake safety.

The CVSA has its own Brake Inspection Checklist, and it could be worthwhile for truckers to take this list and conduct a 10- to 15-minute vehicle inspection. They can look for damaged or missing components, cracks on linings and pads, cracked brake drums and wear on camshaft lobes. All issues should be logged into a Driver-Vehicle Inspection Report. Fleet managers should be informed of the issues.

On the road, truckers should practice defensive driving by maintaining reasonable speeds, paying attention to road signs and keeping safe distances from other vehicles. Doing so will reduce the need for harsh braking or cornering. Truckers can also extend the life of their brakes with properly inflated tires.

Fleet managers, for their part, will want to take note of any unsafe driving behaviors, such as harsh braking and cornering. They can refer to meter readings, maintenance notes or historical records to make sure that the brakes are regularly maintained. In addition, managers can set up training as well as preventive or predictive maintenance programs for their vehicles.

If the victim of a truck accident finds out that the truck driver or fleet owner neglected to maintain the brakes or other components, they may have the grounds for a personal injury claim. The trucking company will have a legal team fighting to deny the claim, which is why the victim may want a lawyer on their side. Third-party professionals can be brought in to gather proof, such as the police report, work log and maintenance records.

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