Truck Braking Ability in General

Heavy trucks, semi-trucks, single-unit trucks, and work trucks, such as cement mixers make up a large portion of all vehicles on the road today. These trucks are large, heavy, and difficult to stop. Consequently, large truck drivers must pass stringent testing requirements before they are licensed to drive these enormous machines. Nonetheless, many accidents occur annually involving large trucks. Large truck crashes cause a significant amount of property damage, catastrophic injuries, and fatalities each year. The inability to brake safely causes many crashes each year. If you are injured or loved one died in a crash involving a large truck, Kenneth J. Annis & Associates represents trucking accident victims in recovering damages.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is a federal agency with the primary goal of making our highways safer. According to the NHTSA, large trucks (including buses) have a Gross Vehicle Weight of 10,000 or more pounds. Large trucks account for 1 out of 4,000 fatalities and over 400,000 accidents annually in the United States. With those figures in mind, the NHTSA has continued to advance the safety of our roads by exploring different means to avoid accidents. Such advances include automatic braking and crash avoidance or mitigation systems onboard large trucks. The advances would warn drivers of an imminent crash or collision threat to enable the driver to take evasive action or avoid the collision.

The NHTSA is focusing on two technologies, which if implemented, would make our roads significantly safer. In essence, the NHTSA wants to implement the technology we enjoy in personal vehicles and install it in large trucks. For instance, the NHTSA is currently studying "dynamic brake systems (DBS)" as well as "collision imminent braking (CIB)." DBS and CIB rely on radar or lidar, cameras, and other sensory technology. The technology can follow an object, pedestrian, or another vehicle in its forward path. DBS works to supplement or override a driver's attempt at braking if the driver responds to slowly in the face of an imminent collision. CIB, on the other hand, sends more power to the brakes to stop the large truck if the driver fails to heed the system's advanced warnings.

Jack-knifing is one of the most significant issues a driver faces when braking hard. Trucks "jack-knife" when the cab turns beyond parallel to its trailer and strikes the trailer. The driver loses control of the cab as well as the payload. Jack-knifes can cause the truck to rollover. Increasing braking power must be balanced with the ability to maintain control over the payload. Therefore, the braking power must be transferred from the cab to the trailer according to the NHTSA. If the cab and trailer are braking hard while aligned with each other, then the likelihood of a jack-knife is reduced. However, if the cab turns while braking hard, the pressure on the joint connecting the cab to the trailer causes the trailer to slide.

Truck drivers also must be concerned with the road surface. The surface conditions greatly influence a truck's ability to stop. Wet surfaces and icy surfaces are more difficult to brake on then dry surfaces. Wet or icy surfaces translate into less friction between the tire and the road, causing the driver to lose control. A turn also might diminish the truck driver’s ability to control the big-rig. Turning too fast on a curve can lead to jack-knifing and a rollover accident. Last-second evasive maneuvers can make breaking difficult as well.

Kenneth J. Annis & Associates are experienced trucking accident attorneys. They have the knowledge and skill to hold those who caused the accident accountable. If you or a loved one were injured in a trucking accident in Washington, DC, Maryland, or Virgina, call Kenneth J. Annis & Associates today at 202-785-2244 to schedule your free consultation.