Tulane University senior Margaret Maurer was struck and killed by a set of wheels that separated from an 18-wheeler on an interstate in Mississippi. During the tragic accident, the runaway wheels flew more than 450 meters, hitting Ms. Maurer as she was about to get back into her car.
The investigation into the accident found that a missing $3 locking ring – a thin metal component that ensures the wheels remain secure – was the likely cause. According to “Willie Huff, director of the transportation department’s office of enforcement… [the ring] was missing when inspectors unpacked the outer hub of the wheel assembly. It is one of two rings that are meant to lock in place the large lug nuts holding the wheels in place. Only one ring was found,” Huff said.
Inadequate inspection can lead to tragedy
The critical nature of safety inspections for commercial trucks cannot be overstated. Trucking companies are required to conduct a pre-trip inspection prior to each trip, as well as a comprehensive yearly inspection performed by a certified mechanic. The pre-trip inspection alone would have been insufficient to discover the absence of a small 3-inch locking ring. In this case, the responsibility likely rests on those who last inspected the truck with required checks on all safety equipment.
Common violations of truck safety maintenance
According to the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, the five most common causes for commercial vehicle out-of-service violations are:
- Brake Systems (26.9%)
- Cargo Securement (15.7%)
- Tires/Wheels (15.1%)
- Brake Adjustment (14.5%)
- Lighting Devices (11.6%)
Many of the variables mentioned above are not detectable during a passing inspection and require a closer examination from a professional, certified mechanic. Dangerous truck accidents can occur when a commercial truck is not inspected properly and when the truck driver has no knowledge that the vehicle he or she is driving has a defect.
Trucking companies are responsible for keeping their trucks maintained per state and federal regulations. The Tennessee Farm Bureau Association mandates that all vehicles weighing more than 10,001 pounds and conducting interstate commerce operations must receive an annual inspection by a certified mechanic. In addition, even when a vehicle is not up for inspection, trucking carriers have the responsibility of maintaining their vehicles and fixing mechanical issues in a timely manner when discovered.
If you sustained an injury in a car crash with a tractor-trailer due to another party’s negligence, including potentially a faulty truck part, the Memphis truck accident attorneys at Bailey & Greer, PLLC, can investigate your case and fight for the compensation you deserve. We serve clients in Jackson, Memphis, and throughout West Tennessee. To set up a discussion about your case on a free, no-obligation basis, call us today at 901.475.7434 or fill out our contact form.