In many near-accidents, the one thing that stands between motorists and a catastrophic collision is the braking system in their vehicles. Brakes have become more responsive and sophisticated than ever, and as long as they are properly installed and maintained, brakes can save lives.

Unfortunately, some owners of vehicles that most certainly rely on effective braking are not taking seriously the importance of regular maintenance. In face, a troubling number of commercial trucks are out on the roads everyday without properly maintained brakes, and this week, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance is looking to get those trucks off the road.

During this year’s Brake Safety Week, the CVSA is teaming up with law enforcement to ramp up brake inspections of commercial vehicles. The inspections will focus specifically on checking the braking systems and looking for signs of improper maintenance, missing parts, fluid leaks and other failures.

If officers find that the brake systems are not working properly, they can and will be ordering those trucks off the road. During last year’s brake inspection blitz, over 12 percent of the 18,800 trucks inspected were ordered off the road.

During Brake Safety Week, it is possible that thousands of unsafe trucks could be placed out of service, which can certainly be in the best interests of other motorists. However, these efforts will only last this week; after that, brake inspection efforts will return to normal.

Truck owners and operators have a duty to maintain safe vehicles, and this is certainly true when it comes to the braking systems. Should they fail to do this, the affected trucks can wind up in a catastrophic accident with other vehicles if they can’t stop in time to avoid a collision.

If you are involved in an accident with a commercial truck that could have been prevented with better compliance with maintenance regulations, you could hold truck operators and/or owners accountable for damages that have been suffered. Discussing your case with an attorney can help you assess your legal options.