How To Avoid Commercial Truck Brake Failures In Your Fleet

A commercial truck brake failure could be catastrophic. Brake systems that work properly are critical for commercial vehicle safety. The good news is that there are some things you can do to decrease the risk.

Inspections and routine maintenance are the first steps to avoiding commercial truck brake failures. And the more trucks you have, the bigger your responsibility becomes. It’s very important to perform regular brake system maintenance on your entire fleet.

“Brake maintenance should never be an afterthought. Especially for a commercial or even personal vehicle,” says Autumn Insurance & Benefits CEO Curt Rager. “We all know the longer we wait to service brakes, the more expensive it gets and the safety priorities are obvious.  A reluctance to regularly service brakes is dangerous for the driver and other cars on the road. Plus, an accident could affect your safety record, risk management goals, and insurance premium costs for years.”

The ramifications of a crash could be devastating and impact you for years.

Inspect Brake Hoses, Tubing, And Driving Habits

A much-needed focus is brake hoses and tubing. Certified vehicle inspectors should review CMVs using the CVSA’s North American out-of-service criteria and remove any CMVs with brake-related violations from the roadways.

You should also keep track of your driving habits. As you drive, keep in mind the condition of your brakes. Make sure you’re driving at a reasonable pace and keeping a safe following distance so your brakes don’t have to work as hard if you have to stop unexpectedly.

And check your tire pressure as well. The tires are strained when the brakes are used. Make sure your truck’s tires are constantly at the proper PSI to minimize additional wear and tear.

Why Brake Inspections Are So Important

One of the things that a commercial truck driver should never avoid is a brake inspection. They can tell you a lot about the safety of your vehicle. Here are some of the reasons why brake inspections are so important.

  • Over a third (38.6%) of all CMV out-of-service conditions were caused by brake system and adjustment violations during last year’s International Roadcheck inspection and enforcement initiative.
  • The third most cited vehicle-related factor among fatal CMV and passenger vehicle crashes was brake system failures. This is according to a recent Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)
  • Eight out of the FMCSA’s top 20 vehicle violations in 2020 were brake-related.
  • During last year’s Brake Safety Week over 10% of the nearly 44,000 CMVs inspected had brake-related issues.

Each year the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance holds “Brake Safety Week” as a reminder to all commercial drivers about the dangers of truck brake failures. Identifying brake-related violations, and placing unsafe CMVs out of service is a team effort.

How To Protect Yourself From Truck Brake Failures

Outside of doing the recommended inspections, you can protect yourself with commercial truck insurance. Michigan truck drivers know the hazards that you can come across on the road in the Wolverine state. If you’re driving an 18-wheel rig, a lot can happen.  And if you have a commercial fleet of 2 or 20, — you cannot avoid regular brake maintenance on your vehicle.

The bottom line is to make sure you have the right protection. Brake-related infractions account for the majority of out-of-service violations. So, you’d think drivers would stay on top of them. But what’s scary is that they typically go unnoticed until someone performs a roadside inspection.

Improperly fitted or poorly maintained brake systems can diminish truck and bus braking capability.  It also lengthens stopping distance, which poses a major danger to drivers and public safety.

Make Sure You Have The Right Insurance

In the event, your brakes fail or something else causes you to crash, it’s important to have the right insurance coverage. The right policy will even cover you for non-accident-related events like thefts, or wrong deliveries. Here’s a look at your options.

General liability truck insurance covers risks other than those related to operating your truck. This can include things like missed deliveries.

Primary liability truck insurance covers personal harm and property damage caused by a truck driver’s negligence. Depending on the sort of freight you’re transporting, federal insurance laws require interstate truckers to carry anywhere from $750,000 to $5 million in liability coverage.

If your truck is damaged in an accident, physical damage insurance covers you, but damage to products and cargo in transit is covered by motor truck cargo insurance.

And last, but certainly not least, Michigan is a no-fault state for car insurance. No-fault insurance is required for all vehicles, including commercial trucks, and gives Personal Injury Protection (PIP) payouts to injured persons.

Autumn Insurance Covers You And Your Truck

For any type of vehicle, but especially commercial vehicles, getting the correct level of liability insurance coverage is critical. A semi truck’s enormous size and weight, in comparison to other vehicles, automatically puts the occupants of smaller cars in danger of serious injury in the event of a collision.

If you need commercial truck insurance or more information on how to avoid truck brake failures, contact Autumn Insurance. Our commercial fleet resources and risk management experts are always willing to help. You can call us at 248-478-1177.


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