Commercial trucks weigh much more than smaller passenger vehicles, so these vehicles must have functioning brake systems and drivers who know how to slow the trucks when traveling downhill. However, this does not always happen, and when a truck’s air brake system fails, it endangers everyone on the roadway.
According to Transport Topics, brake failure issues are among the leading causes of modern truck crashes, contributing to 29.4% of all commercial truck wrecks. Most instances of brake failure arise from one of two conditions.
Many truck crashes caused by air brake failure are avoidable, and most brake failure issues are the result of a truck driver’s error. Sometimes, truck drivers “ride” the truck’s brakes when traveling downhill, but this is not a safe practice. Doing so may cause premature brake fade, which may impact the effectiveness of the brake system.
Rather than ride the brakes, truckers should use jake brakes, if they have them. They should also use the air brakes sporadically when navigating steep hills to avoid overuse, which may cause the brake system to overheat and malfunction.
Sometimes, air brake system malfunctions contribute to commercial truck crashes. Air brakes need to receive a steady airstream to function as intended. When something inhibits this stream of air, the brakes may apply themselves, leading to a loss of control for the driver.
Research shows that younger truck drivers who have less driving experience are more prone to the behaviors that often contribute to air brake failure.