Commercial trucks need reliable brake systems when traveling down steep Georgia hills, but many of today’s commercial truck wrecks result from issues within a truck’s air brake system. Air brakes often fail in two ways, with one method of failure proving more common than the other.
According to Transport Topics, air brake failure issues now contribute to 29.4% of commercial truck crashes. When a semitruck’s brakes fail, whether due to a system malfunction or a truck driver’s mistake, injuries and fatalities are a common result.
Truck driver errors and air brake failure
Many instances of brake failure and many truck crashes, in general, result from truck driver errors. If a truck driver relies too much on the air brakes when traveling downhill, this action may cause air brake failure. This is a common behavior among younger, newer truck drivers, with more seasoned truckers often knowing to use the jake brake, or the air brakes on and off, to avoid overusing the air brakes.
System malfunctions and air brake failure
Sometimes, air brakes fail because there is something defective within the system that causes them to malfunction. Air brakes rely on a steady airstream. If something malfunctions and interferes with it, stopping the stream of air, it causes the air brakes to lock up. This may cause the truck driver to lose control and is of particular concern if he or she is traveling downhill at a high rate of speed.
When truck drivers overuse their brakes over time, it often causes premature brake fade. This, too, is a safety concern because it may hinder the performance of the air brake system.