Proper maintenance and inspections of commercial vehicles, including tractor trailers, are critical for the safety of the public. And while it would seem that common sense would dictate that drivers and commercial carriers keep their vehicles in prime condition, as a trucking lawyer I see examples of poor maintenance all too frequently – often with catastrophic or even deadly results.
For example, recent news reports indicate that a tractor trailer lost an axle while driving on the border of N.Y. and N.J., forcing police to shut down the right lane and shoulder of Route 287 North in Mahwah, and causing a massive traffic snarl on Route 17 North in Mahwah and Ramsey. The tractor trailer involved lost all of its wheels on the right side, according to police. No collision or other triggering event was identified for the incident. Fortunately, no injuries were reported, however a properly maintained and inspected truck should not simply drop its wheels onto the roadway.
I was previously involved in a case in which a man suffered serious, permanent injuries due to a strikingly similar occurrence. My client was riding a bicycle along the side of the road, when he was struck by a runaway tire from a tractor trailer. Investigations revealed that the semi’s brakes had recently been serviced, and that the maintenance personnel failed to properly tighten the wheel’s lugs, which came loose in operation causing the rig to shed the wheel.
Improper maintenance and/or incomplete inspections frequently result in accidents or incidents such as these. Evidence critical to determining the actual cause of an accident involving a tractor trailer can be lost or destroyed within a very short period of time. As such, it is critical that persons who suffer injuries due to big trucks seek the assistance of an experienced trucking attorney as soon as possible.