The link between air brakes and semi-truck fires

On Behalf of | Jan 21, 2022 | Car Accidents

Most commercial trucks on the road across California and the rest of the nation contain air brake systems, which rely on a steady stream of compressed air to keep them working properly. Air brakes are particularly common on larger, heavier trucks. Yet, there are several safety issues that may arise from these brake systems.

Per CDL Life, there is growing concern in the trucking industry about just how often brake systems on semi-trucks catch fire. In fact, there have been so many instances of commercial truck air brakes catching fire in recent years that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has launched an investigation into the matter.

Air brake fire concerns

The investigation looks into whether a particular type of air brake chamber installed in commercial trucks between 2015 and 2020 raises the risk of the brake system catching fire. Safety officials spearheading the investigation believe that the issue might impact as many as 500,000 commercial trucks currently in use across the United States.

Air brake fire dangers

The investigation also seeks to determine if a power spring within the air brake system is prone to puncturing the diaphragm, which leads to air loss within the spring brake circuit and, eventually, brake drag. When this does occur, it often does so without any warning to the driver. When a truck catches fire without warning the truck driver, he or she may not have many options as far as getting off the roadway and avoiding crashing into motorists.

A recall on these air brakes may become necessary depending on the final findings of the investigation.