Are the Air Brakes in Good Working Order? The Truck Driver Cannot Tell Without a Visual Inspection

David Monteleone
Illinois Accident and Wrongful Death Lawyer

  Posted  |  Category : Truck Accidents

Truck drivers are required to perform a pre-trip inspection before taking a truck out on the road. This inspection includes an examination of the important systems and safety features including brakes, steering, tires, lights, suspension, and other safety equipment. If any part or system is defective, the driver is required to note the issue on the pre-trip inspection form and place the truck out of service until a repair can be completed.

Large commercial trucks are typically equipped with air brake systems, which require periodic inspection and maintenance in order to function properly. Truck drivers are required to check the brake system for air leaks, brake shoe deterioration, drum deterioration, bearing seal leaks, loose or damaged air supply hoses and clamps, wheel alignment, and brake adjustment before every trip. These visual inspections are critical for the safe operation of the vehicle.

Brake Adjustment and Maintenance Is Crucial for Safe Vehicle Operation

Brake adjustment is especially important since air brakes do not offer direct feedback when there is a malfunction—there is no mechanical link between the brake pedal and the air brakes located at each wheel. To the driver, the brakes feel the same whether they are working properly or not. In addition, because truckers typically brake at low pressure during normal truck operation, out-of-alignment or defective brakes may still function. However, when an 18-wheeler has to stop suddenly, the defective brakes will fail, significantly increasing the time it takes the vehicle to stop, and potentially cause a catastrophic crash.

There are many tractor-trailers traveling on I-90—often during rush hour when Rockford area residents are traveling to and from work.  When a truck driver fails to inspect his brakes and perform proper maintenance, he puts nearby commuters at risk.

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