What Are Some Examples of Engine Braking System Accidents?
What are Jake Brakes and Their Risks?
Jake braking is a necessary part of truck travel in this country. Using the engine to slow the vehicle is a major means to prevent brake wear or necessary in cases of severe brake failure. In other words, it is an auxiliary braking device. But it was made popular by a company named Jacobs Brake, and the name stuck.
But there are similar engine brake systems such as this like:
- Mack Powerleash.
- Blue Ox. (But this is an exhaust brake system)
- Telma driveline retarder, and others.
As these devices remain an adjunct to a truck's brakes, no requirement exists for a trucker to utilize this helpful tool in slowing a big rig. The basic physics is that it uses the motor's own deceleration or downshifting energy to grab and slow the rotation of the axles, without engaging the air brakes.
Most of the publicly available operator's manuals for each of the above devices state that they should not be engaged when slippery road surfaces are present. The Jacobs Brakes manual is even more specific, stating that during rain, or possibly even melting snow, the auxiliary brake system could possibly lock up the rig's wheels.
Many truckers disagree that water could lock an auxiliary brake, but it's possible. Obviously, when bad weather is present, a semi-intelligent vehicle operator will take steps necessary to consider the increased stopping times due to the road hazards and conditions present. However, even in the best weather, the practice presents certain risks to residents near major roads and highways. Of particular concern, it presents a major disturbance due to noise pollution. So there are good reasons why many towns and cities ban or stifle the practice.
The Experience Needed for Understanding Jake Brake Issues.
We know that green truckers are replacing the more advanced truckers of old. In reviewing cases of jake braking and its effects, we compiled valuable information for our readers. The Ehline Law Firm Personal Injury Attorneys, APLC is among the leading car and truck accident lawyers in the state of California.
Furthermore, our experience working alongside and even suing state agencies like Caltrans and municipalities on these issues is second to none. So we have the know-how to speak out on and address these issues. Below is a partial list of accidents caused, at least in part, by the practice of engine braking.
- In Dalton, MA the local government considered a ban on the practice near an accident-prone stretch of road, according to the Berkshire Eagle
- A deadly crash in Colorado was caused at least in part by not properly using the engine braking system.
- In Alabama, misplaced 'no jake braking' signs may be a contributing factor to a number of crashes near I-459.
- California has municipality fire truck restrictions on the use of compression style brakes to reduce noise. Hence, a brake retarder is mandatory for fire trucks exceeding a 31,000 gross vehicle weight under Calfornia Vehicle Code Sections 35002(b)(2) and 521).
The practice of downshifting to slow a vehicle has its clear value. But it also places regular commuters at risk. For example, a novice trucker, or distracted trucker may accidentally use both the regular brakes and jake brakes simultaneously, which may cause trucks to slow at a quicker than expected pace, and trailer jackknife, or plunge like a battering ram, smashing into passenger cars, killing or permanently ruining the occupants. This may cause an accident with the following car.
Fortunately, with the use of Black Box technology, we can get to the bottom of some of these theories. But not all trucks are equipped to tell us everything about the potential risks of Jake Brakes to users of the roadways.
Can I Sue Over a Jake Brake Accident?
The short answer is yes. The longer answer is more complicated. As noted above, without proper systems monitoring technology, how would you know if it was Jake Braking that caused the trucker to lose control? Either way, you may still have a legal case against the trucker, the shipping company, mechanics, and parts manufacturers.
With our legal experience, the improper use of a system, defective parts, or inadequate maintenance can all be part of a lawsuit for damages. Our experience is that if a vehicle was unsafely operated, the injured party can seek justice. Want more info? Keep reading our site or contact one of our all-star attorneys.
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