• September 28, 2021

Truck Driver Killed in Brake Failure Accident on I-83 in Fairview Township, PA

Fairview Township, PA -- September 25, 2021, a 67-year-old truck driver was killed when his tractor-trailer rolled over on an Interstate 83 off-ramp in Fairview Township.

Authorities say the incident happened shortly before 3:30 a.m. along northbound I-83 at an exit ramp. Preliminary investigation suggests the big rig's driver lost control while attempting to exit the interstate on the ramp. The truck rolled onto the center barrier separating the on- and off-ramps and then overturned. The driver was entrapped in the truck when police arrived at the scene and lost consciousness shortly after. A witness to the crash told police they were able to speak briefly to the driver, who said the truck's brakes failed.

The victim was transported to an area hospital where he later died of his injuries. The semi-truck was towed for inspection.

No further information is currently available.

Commentary on 18-Wheeler Brake Failure Crash on I-83 in Fairview Twp

Incidents of brake failure can be somewhat complex to investigate. Most often it's found that brakes failed because they overheated from constant use, but in some other cases they failed because they were poorly maintained or long overdue for replacement. I don't meant to cast stones or point fingers, just to acknowledge something I've seen after many crashes when forensic analysis showed a truck had heavily-damaged brakes and was lucky to have stopped as many times as it did.

However, in some rare circumstances brakes fail because they were manufactured with a defect that stopped them from performing their duty. It's critical to identify whether such a defect was involved--not only to ensure the right parties are held accountable, but because if the faulty brakes are on one truck they are most likely on thousands of others too. In that event a recall campaign must be undertaken to prevent as many similar wrecks as possible.

Truck Driver Killed in Brake Failure Accident on I-83 in Fairview Township, PA

Here's the tough part, though: Brake failures from negligence and brake failures due to manufacturer error may look quite similar to someone with no training in telling them apart. It's heartening to learn the truck was impounded for inspection, but an average traffic investigator may not have the experience or the tools necessary to recognize the specific signs of what made the truck's brakes give out.

As with so many other commercial crashes, I would suggest working with an independent investigator with the training and equipment to reach a complete understanding of events. At the very least, the victim's family deserves to know that an expert's involvement helped bring them the entire truth.

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