According to the United States Department of Transportation, for most Americans the typical activity of driving or being a passenger in a motor vehicle, tops the charts when it comes to daily dangerous. The Bureau of Transportation Statistics conducted a study from 1990 to 2010 to gauge what forms of transportation were unsafe and track transportation-related fatalities and injuries.1 The study positively noted a downward trend over the past 20 years, however, automobile accidents still account for the highest number of transportation-related deaths with over thirty thousand deaths in 2010 alone.2 With a significant number of automobile deaths occurring annually, the first steps toward continuing the decreasing trend of annual deaths in motor vehicle accidents is to begin to understand the reasons why accidents occur and who is liable when an accident does occur.
Why Do Accidents Occur?
There is not a single reason why an auto accident occurs. That is why preventing or stopping an accident can be a difficult task to accomplish. There are four main factors that contribute to the high number of collisions and deaths reported each year: roadway design, poor roadway maintenance (including active construction zones), driver behavior (including drunk or distracted driving), and equipment or mechanical failures.3
Mechanical and Equipment Failures May Lead to Auto Accidents
Over ten percent of auto accidents are traced to some form of equipment or mechanical failure.4 There are three main reasons that attribute to mechanical failure related accidents: normal wear and tear, lack of proper vehicle maintenance, or manufacturing defects.
Leading Mechanical Failures
The top areas of concern for equipment failures include brake systems, tires, wipers, lighting system (including head and tail lights), and steering systems. It is important to be aware of the leading failures to ensure proper maintence is performed during regularly scheduled maintence appointments.
The top mechanical failure concern is related to the condition of a vehicle’s brake pads, shoes, and rotors. Studies show that almost one-third of drivers in the United States are traveling to work and for pleasure in a vehicle with a unsafe braking system.5 Drivers should be aware of common brake issues and signs of brake system failure such as carrying excessive weight without timely replacement of brake pads, brake pedal pulses or vibrations, grinding or scraping metal when braking, screeching or squealing brakes, and avoid aggressive driving that leads to hard braking.6
Tire failure due to defects in the tire design, blowouts, or normal wear and tear accounts for the second leading cause of mechanical failure-related car accidents. Well maintained tires provide proper traction to take curves, corners, and stay on the road, but inadequate inflation or worn treads are the most common causes of tire failure. Periodic inspections for bulges or uneven wear patterns are indicators to replace your tires, but outside of signs of damage it is safe to estimate tire replacement every 40,000 miles.7
Contact an Experienced St. Louis Car Accident Lawyer for a Free Consultation
Besides drivers and owners properly maintaining their automobiles, there are many steps taken to prevent mechanical failure related car accidents. Prior to selling a vehicle, manufactures ensure safety through extensive checks and testing. Manufacturers also continue awareness and testing on vehicles post-sale, so if necessary, recalls can be made, consumers can be warn of unsafe mechanical designs or failures, and the retailers can correct the defects. Despite these steps toward accident prevention, auto accidents due to mechanical failure still occur each year. If you have been in a car accident possibly caused by mechanical failure, it is important to discuss the circumstances of your accident with an experienced auto accident attorney who can help you to determine what claims should be filed and protect your rights and interests as a victim of a car accident. To contact an auto accident attorney for a free consultation please feel free to call the The Bruning Law Firm Law Firm at 314-735-8100.