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Big Rig Brake Failures the Cause of Many Fatal Wrecks Says Austin Personal Injury Lawyer

Mechanical failure is one of the leading causes of 18-wheeler accidents. Maintenance is crucial to safe operation.

“While this should be a no-brainer, it seems that a great number of trucking companies don’t always keep their trucks up to snuff. Perhaps they are tired, don’t have time or forget, but maintenance can be the biggest lifesaver when they take their rigs on the highways and byways of the nation. All it takes is one missed brake or load check to ultimately become the reason for a fatal wreck,” said Brooks Schuelke, an Austin personal injury lawyer with Perlmutter & Schuelke, L.L.P.

The trucking industry, by and large, does a good job of keeping their behemoths running smoothly and on the road. Those rigs keep the nation in business every day of the week by transporting goods. More often than not, truckers check their loads; check how they are strapped down, check their tires, their fuel levels and brakes. Unfortunately, there are those who would prefer to go for the cash at the end of the run and not take the extra time to do due diligence to ensure their truck is safe.

“Any trucking company and/or trucker that does not take the time to properly perform safety checks on a regular basis is taking the potentially fatal risk of killing someone in a wreck. It’s a given that when an 18-wheeler hits another vehicle, the results are usually deadly. It is up to the driver and the company to take the responsibility to be safe, drive safe and travel safe. The lives of others, including their own, are at stake every time a rig hits the road,” Schuelke said.

Mechanical flaws that affect the function of an 18-wheeler, such as poor or worn brakes or loose tires that come off, have the potential to blow up when least expected. No one wants to be in front of a big rig whose driver suddenly discovers that the vehicle’s brakes are not working properly; a disaster in the making that could have been avoided had the driver done a proper safety check before starting the run.

Consider the case of the four vehicles stopped at a construction zone on the highway, waiting for a piece of heavy equipment to clear the road. Out of the blue, the tractor-trailer coming up behind them suddenly realizes the cars are stopped. In an attempt to avoid the inevitable, the trucker hit the brakes and steered toward the ditch.

The brakes failed. The truck did a sideswipe, snake-like motion and completely creamed the last car in line. There were no survivors in the vehicle. The trucker had not checked his brakes and performed proper maintenance on them for months. The estate of the family killed in the wreck would ultimately file a wrongful death lawsuit based on the trucker’s negligence in not maintaining his vehicle.

“Regular inspection and maintenance are the responsibility of every trucking company and trucker. If they fail to take care of their fleet, the results can kill. If you have been in a situation like this, please, call my office for information and to find out what your legal rights are in cases like this,” said Austin personal injury lawyer Schuelke.

Contact Perlmutter & Schuelke PLLC at or (512) 476-4944.


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