Eighteen-wheelers, big-rigs and tractor-trailers are large, complicated machines. They rely on many parts working properly at all times to operate safely. Because of their size, even a small mechanical issue can have deadly consequences. Ideally, trucking companies and truck operators would properly inspect and maintain their vehicles before sending them out onto New Jersey roads. Unfortunately, this is not the case.
Cheap or unscrupulous trucking companies often sacrifice safety for profits. They may skip scheduled or regular maintenance, and instead wait until something actually breaks before they repair their trucks. This means that trucks can have catastrophic mechanical failures while on the road.
Mechanical issues can develop with the truck itself (the tractor) or with the trailer that the truck is pulling. Some of the most dangerous mechanical problems for trucks in the Ridgewood area include:
- Chassis problems. Because of the large container shipping port facilities in Newark and Elizabeth, intermodal containers are often seen on New Jersey highways. These containers are shipped on interchangeable chassis rented individually from companies that own fleets. If these container chassis are not properly maintained, the may have “roadability” problems. It may be possible to hold both the owner of the chassis and the trucking company who is leasing it liable when something goes wrong.
- Steering system failure. Problems with a truck’s steering are a recipe for disaster. Because trucks on New Jersey roadways can weigh up to 40 tons, even a slight steering problem can make them difficult to control.
- Braking problems. When a truck can’t slow down it can plow into the vehicles in front of it, running them over or trapping and pushing them. Additionally, the inability to slow down makes it hard for a truck to turn without rolling over or jackknifing.
- Wheel and tire problems. When a tire is worn down and not replaced in time, it can blow out during operation. The tread can also separate from the rest of the tire. While one bad tire may not cause a truck to crash, it often leads to large pieces of rubber debris flying through the air and obstructing the roadway.
Regardless of the type of mechanical problem that causes an accident, a personal injury lawyer can help accident victims hold trucking companies liable for their injuries.
The truck accident attorneys at Seigel Law in Ridgewood, New Jersey seek to get justice for victims of trucking accidents. When a trucking company’s failure to maintain their fleet causes you or a loved on to suffer an injury, we can help. To schedule a free consultation, contact us online or call us at 201.444.4000.