Brake Safety Week Targets Large Truck Operators

West Virginia motorists may not find it surprising that large commercial vehicles are harder to stop than passenger cars. At its best, the braking system on a tractor-trailer needs twice as much distance to bring the vehicle to a stop, compared to the braking performance of smaller vehicles. If road conditions are not ideal or brakes are poorly maintained, the stopping distance for large trucks can be even greater.

Recognizing that brake systems in good working order can help prevent dangerous trucking accidents, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance scheduled this year's Brake Safety Week for September 9 through 15, 2012. This campaign has also been called Operation Air Brake, originating in 1998 in Canada.

The CVSA's activities during its Brake Safety Week included conducting roadside inspections and providing education for drivers and mechanics about brake operation, maintenance and inspection. Inspectors certified by the CVSA were stationed at truck stops and other locations frequented by truck drivers and mechanics.

During a typical inspection, an inspector reviews the driver's license and registration information along with mechanical features specific to the truck's braking system. The features inspected include the device that provides a warning when a brake system is low on air, the brake linings, brake drums and travel range of the pushrod component. The inspector also checks for leaks in the brake system.

Most drivers generally should be capable of doing routine brake inspections and adjustments themselves, and they should always make sure their brakes are in safe operating condition with expert inspections. Educating drivers about the need to keep up with these safety measures is a key strategy to reduce the occurrence of tractor-trailer crashes.

Programs like Brake Safety Week hold the promise of reducing the number and severity of trucking accidents in West Virginia. In those tragic circumstances when accidents do happen, victims should be aware that they may be able to seek compensation and hold the driver accountable through a personal injury lawsuit if the driver was negligent in maintaining or operating the truck. Through a personal injury lawsuit, a trucking accident victim may be able to obtain monetary compensation, called damages, for pain and suffering, medical expenses and lost wages while recovering from his or her injuries.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a trucking accident, contact a knowledgeable person injury lawyer to learn more about your legal options.