Although three cars were damaged, fortunately no one was injured when the left dual axle of a semi-trailer came loose along Interstate 5 near Lower Boones Ferry Road near Tigard and bounced across lanes striking vehicles.
On September 8, 2014 at approximately 2:58 p.m., a commercial truck pulling a flatbed semi-trailer was traveling southbound on Interstate 5 near milepost 290 when the left rear dual axle and wheels broke loose. The wheels and axle struck the center concrete barrier, bounced back across the southbound lanes and struck the right front area of a Dodge Durango sport utility vehicle. The wheels and axle then continued across the southbound exit off ramp, through a fence and struck two unoccupied vehicles in a parking lot near a Men’s Wearhouse business. Both vehicles received moderate damage.
Most big commercial truck accidents with other vehicles are severe. A typical, fully loaded commercial truck can weigh at least 25 times as much as a typical car and cause serious, even fatal, injuries. Although truck drivers tend to be more careful on the road than auto drivers, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation, in 2006 large truck crashes accounted for 4,999 fatalities and 106,000 injuries.
Trucking Accidents Due to Brake Failure
Trucking accidents are often caused by mechanical failures—usually due to brake failures and defective tires. A recent study sponsored by the Department of Transportation (DOT) found that 29.4% of all truck crashes involved brake failure, brakes out of adjustment, and other brake-related issues. The federal government has imposed strict regulations of truck braking systems. A truck must be able to:
- Develop a certain braking force based on a percentage of the truck’s weight
- Decelerate to a stop from 20 miles per hour at a rate specific to its size
- Meet the automatic brake adjustment system requirements
When truck brakes do not meet these federal standards, either the manufacturer did not design the brakes properly, some defect occurred in the manufacturing process, or the owner-operator truck driver or trucking company has failed to maintain brakes properly or deliberately unhooked or de-powered front brakes to minimize the expense of tire and brake wear and replacement costs.
Truck Crashes Caused by Tire Problems
A trucking accident may be caused by a failed tire that the driver should have noticed in the required pre-trip inspection of the truck. Tread wear due to improper tire pressure, tread and sidewall damage, and air leakage are principal indicators that can cause blowout and loss of control of the vehicle.
Other common maintenance mistakes made by trucking companies include:
- Allowing drivers to use tires that fail to meet the minimum DOT tread depth requirement
- Mounting mismatched tire sizes or pairing tires with significantly different wear
- Mixing bias and radial tires on the same axle
Getting Help in a Trucking Accident
Because a trucking accident can be complicated, you should get advice or representation from a lawyer specializing in trucking law.