When a commercial truck is in an accident, an investigation is often conducted to determine the cause. While the majority of crashes are the direct result of human error, there are some that are caused by defective automotive parts. When evidence suggests a truck could pose serious harm to others, it’s crucial for it to be recalled so accidents can be prevented.
When a commercial truck is defective and equipment fails, the truck driver could have a difficult time maintaining control of their vehicle and an accident could result. Just like with car companies, truck manufacturers are required to inform the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) of defects, so a recall can be issued.
The Dangers of a Defective Commercial Truck
Because of their size, it’s crucial for commercial trucks to be at peak performance all the time. When this isn’t the case, catastrophic accidents are possible. Just in 2017, 4,102 people died in large truck crashes, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). The majority of the fatalities, at 68 percent, were occupants of cars and other passenger vehicles.
When a part of a commercial truck is defective, a number of dangerous situations could arise. If, for example, the brakes give out while a truck is going downhill, the trucker might be unable to control the speed of the vehicle. As the truck picks up speed, it would likely be harder for the truck driver to control the vehicle’s direction. When a tractor-trailer is involved in an accident with smaller passenger vehicles, the injuries are likely to be devastating or fatal, especially at high speeds.
Common Reasons Commercial Trucks Are Recalled
There are a number of reasons a big rig could be considered for recall, but the most common reasons include defective brakes and tires. Both play a major role in ensuring the vehicle gets to where it’s going as safely as possible. Even a minor defect can cause an accident.
In regard to brakes, a recall was issued in 2016 for commercial vehicles manufactured by Paccar after it was discovered the brake light switch was faulty. This was dangerous because it meant the brake lights on the back of the truck did not come on every time the brake was applied. This quickly resulted in cars crashing into the back of the trucks when the trucks tried to slow down or stop.
When tires are defective, blowouts are more common. For example, Daimler Trucks North American had to recall 863 of its trucks because they were using defective Goodyear tires. The tires had a high chance of tread separation as a result of improper curing.
The Commercial Truck Recall Process
In order to keep travelers safe and get dangerous vehicles off the road, the NHTSA has a recall system. Manufacturers aren’t always the first ones aware that their vehicles are defective. If a trucker or trucking company notices something is wrong with their tractor-trailer, they can file a complaint with the NHTSA.
When a complaint is filed, it’s added to the public NHTSA database. If the agency receives similar reports from multiple people about the same vehicle, they may decide an investigation is warranted. Filing a complaint is easy. Filers only need to provide an email address, VIN, make, model, vehicle’s year, and any documentation related to the report. When the report is added to the public database, all personal information is removed.
If multiple parties file a report for the same vehicle, the recall system is initiated. The first step is screening. This is where the NHTSA reviews the filed complaints and decides whether to proceed with the investigation. The second step is analysis. This is an analysis of any petitions calling for defect investigations. If a petition is denied, the reasons for the denial are published. The third step is the official investigation. This will not be closed until the manufacturer receives recall recommendations or a safety-related defect is not identified. Finally, the last step is recall management. This is when the NHTSA starts the process over and determines if more investigation is needed.
Legal Options for Truck Accident Victims
When manufactural defects play a role in a truck accident, it’s crucial for the company to be held accountable for their negligence. If you’ve been in a truck accident, it’s important to work with a lawyer who can conduct an investigation that determines the cause of the wreck.
When a defective auto part is involved, it can be challenging to file a claim against a manufacturer. When you work with Corban Gunn, Attorney at Law, we’re not intimidated by companies and are willing to go the extra mile to ensure you receive the compensation you need to fully recover from the crash. Contact us today to learn more about your rights and options after a truck accident.