The recent tragic accident in Clayton County in which two children were fatally injured, may have involved the brakes on their mom’s vehicle. The crash that ended their lives is heartbreaking and the community has been supportive of the family and mourning along with them. The children sustained fatal injuries when their mom’s vehicle was struck by a large truck as her vehicle entered and traveled into an intersection. The tractor trailer struck the smaller vehicle, but the authorities indicate that the truck driver actually had the right of way. The heartbroken mother apparently advised the authorities that her brakes failed or were not working properly at the time of the crash.
The community has been leaving momentos, flowers and stuffed toys in memory of the children at the site of this tragedy. The family has been surrounded with expressions of love and concern. In the aftermath of this tragedy, the community has held a vigil which the children’s mother attended. She was hurt in the crash, sustaining a broken leg, but was otherwise not hurt severely. The driver of the truck was said to have attempted to remove the children from their car after the crash, but it was too late.
We do not know why the mom’s vehicle entered the intersection or whether her car’s brakes were not operating correctly. This will be part of the accident investigation. Although it is expected that no charges will be filed in this tragedy, the situation brings to mind the importance of vehicle maintenance. We write often about the duties of trucking companies and drivers to maintain their large and heavy vehicles, but we don’t often talk about the importance of maintenance for the average car owner. Sometimes we might notice vehicles with little tread on their tires for example, and cars on the road with bad tires are dangerous for the occupants and for others on the road. We might notice that headlights or brake lights are not functioning on another car on the road. But we cannot see whether the brakes have been regularly maintained or will stop when they need to stop.
Regular maintenance of newer vehicles is often part of the car’s messaging system and can advise the owner that maintenance is needed. But we should not rely on those reminders and many vehicles still do not have these maintenance messages. Functional brakes are critical for safe driving. Experts recommend checking brakes every six months to ensure that they will function in an emergency. Warning signs that your brakes might need repair include more obvious things like difficulty braking, unusual sounds such as grinding or squealing, movement to one side when braking (pulling), among others.
Brakes can fail for a variety of reasons. When brakes become hardened from heat, they don’t function as well. If the rotor is damaged the brakes will not grab the rotor or brake drum properly. Sometimes other issues with a vehicle can impact brake performance. For example, substances such as oil can cause the brakes to function improperly and other mechanical issues, such as fluid levels and bad parts in the engine can also impact brake function.
When accidents occur, often the cause is not obvious and must be investigated. If you have been injured in a car accident, it is important that you find help that can properly investigate all the potential causes. At Scholle Law, we have over two decades of experience in helping injured victims and investigating accidents of all kinds. Please contact our offices for a free consultation about your legal rights and the steps we take to investigate accidents and injuries.