The Florida Highway Patrol says that brake failure is a common reason given for the cause of car accidents. In the majority of cases, however, the brakes check out in good working condition.
An Orange County deputy recently crashed head-on into a van. The deputy was heading southbound, but he drove into the northbound lanes, resulting in the accident. The Florida deputy claimed that his brakes failed as his car continued driving into oncoming traffic.
The two people in the van, a husband and wife, were both rushed to Orlando Regional Medical Center to receive treatment for their injuries. The 25-year-old deputy was himself injured, and was also rushed to the hospital. The deputy has received treatment, was released and is home recovering from the incident.
The Sheriff’s office said that their vehicles are inspected every 12,000 miles. In addition, there was no sign of brake failure at the scene of the accident, such as brake fluid or brake parts. The Sheriff’s office will conduct an investigation into whether the brakes actually failed and, if not, to determine the cause of the crash.
A mechanic who was interviewed confirmed that brake failures are extremely rare. He pointed out that the on-board black box would record brake information. The sheriff’s office will be able to download the information from the black box, and hopefully that information will prove valuable.
The question remains, however, why would the deputy continue driving into oncoming traffic if his brakes failed? Because of his actions he caused the accident and the resulting injuries. Even though the deputy caused the accident, he did not receive a citation, as would an ordinary citizen, because he was on a call at the time of the accident and his lights were on.
The couple injured in the crash may have a personal injury claim against the deputy, Orange County and possibly the car manufacturer, depending on the outcome of the investigation.
Source: WFTV.com, “FHP: Deputy Said Brake Failure Caused Head-On Crash,” 7 April 2011