While state transportation laws vary, truckers and other commercial vehicle drivers who operate on the open road need to satisfy specific federal requirements when it comes to safety components like brakes. In addition to functional service brakes and parking brakes, vehicles must be outfitted with emergency braking systems, and the type of system a vehicle uses has to be in line with laws governing its unique capabilities, installation and maintenance. These rules also include stipulations about how certain brake controls must be positioned and how systems should be interconnected to minimize failure.
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulations mention a few types of brake systems and detailed rules for their usage. Hydraulic and air service brake systems need to meet different Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards rules, and they should have been produced to meet the applicable guidelines on their date of manufacture. Parking, vacuum, electric and surge brakes are governed by different regulations.
Certain FMVSS rules may not have been applicable to some vehicles when they were manufactured, but that doesn’t mean these commercial devices aren’t regulated. The FMCSA explicitly states that vehicles not covered by its brake device regulations have to satisfy other standards, and it makes mention of which rules to consult for each situation.
People who have been injured in a tractor-trailer accident often face lengthy recovery periods during which they are unable to work and incur high medical expenses. If an attorney representing an injured victim determines, after a review of the available evidence, that the accident was caused by improper truck maintenance, it may be advisable to file a personal injury lawsuit against the trucking company seeking damages for the losses that have been sustained.