Believe It Or Not, the Brakes Are Often Ignored

Brakes should NEVER be ignored. At the worst, brake failure could be fatal. At its best, you’ll walk away unscathed, but your truck will be smashed up. Now, you may be wondering how somebody could let their brakes disintegrate without realizing it. Or, you may be wondering if brake failure is even all that common. Well, don’t scoff at this because driver’s lack of attentiveness and awareness is actually quite frightening.

Driver’s Just Don’t Realize

On average, drivers use their brakes 75,000 times a year, which means that the brakes are one of the most overworked parts of a vehicle. It’s also one of the most important assets for keeping drivers safe. Obviously, something so pivotal shouldn’t be taken for granted, but statistics indicating the lack of awareness that drivers possess about their brakes is shocking.

truck 3Brake failure is more likely to happen with a truck.
In a recent study performed by the Journal of Science and International Technology, researchers found that on average, drivers will only have their brakes worked on after their brake fault develops. This is a scary notion because it indicates that 39% of the drivers on the road are likely to have faulty brakes at one point or another. This puts everyone at risk.

In a perfect world, brakes would be worked on every ten thousand miles, as recommended by mechanics. However, this study also showed that many drivers don’t follow this rule of thumb either; “The data suggested that 30% of the respondents prefer sending their vehicle for service at one year [intervals].” One year intervals! Only 30%! As we all know, most drivers are on the road for more than ten thousand miles per year, making this statistic even more shocking and frightening.

Yeah, But Brake Failure Rarely Happens, Right?

No matter how prevalent brake failure is amongst drivers, it’s not something to mess with. Bad brakes = everybody on the road being in danger. Also, brake failure is fairly common amongst all vehicles, especially trucks; “Brake failure is actually one of the top causes of accidents involving trucks and larger vehicles.”

So, if you’re a truck owner, you need to be doubly aware. Unfortunately, once again, everyone is not. On June 24th, 2011, one of the worst auto accidents in United States history was caused by faulty brakes as a 50,000 pound semi-truck skidded 320 feet, through safety railings, and crashed into an Amtrak train. The incident, now known as the Reno Amtrak crash, killed six people and left 14 wounded.

reno track crashThe Reno Amtrack Crash was one of the worst in U.S. history.

National Transportation Safety Board chairwoman, Deborah Hersman, said of the incident, “Although we’ll never know the exact cause of the truck driver’s inattention, we do know that if John Davis Trucking had provided its driver with a safe and properly maintained vehicle, this accident could have been avoided.” According to reports, the large semi had disabled the anti-lock braking system on the trailers, failed to keep brakes in adjustment, had mismatched brake chambers, and had 11 of their 16 brake drums worn beyond specified limits. That sounds crazy, but it’s more common than you would think.

As you can see, it’s very important to be aware of your brakes, especially if you are a truck owner. Replacing worn out brakes is pivotal, and making an upgrade is even better.

By: Tim Snyder
Posted on October 29th, 2013
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