Imagine if a criminal fires a gun, he or she can be held liable for the damage caused by the bullet. But if a driver fails to apply the brakes or the brakes on their vehicle are not properly functioning, they can blame the vehicle and the brakes. If the police believe them, a driver can walk away from a crash with no tickets or criminal charges.
The problem is police never investigate the brakes on the vehicle unless the accident causes a fatality. All the driver has to do is claim the brakes did not work during the accident, and they can get off without any charges. The police officer on the scene will not look at the brake pads or pedal.
You might think that with today’s modern vehicles, police could pull the “black box” information to determine when the driver hit the brakes or if the brakes failed. But, the tools and software to pull the crash data from the vehicle are costly, and most police departments lack the human resources or skills to perform this type of investigation.
Motorists would take better care of their brakes if they knew they would be finically and criminally responsible for a crash. Most people will ignore signs their brakes are worn until the brake pedal goes to the floor. Also, they will have their brakes repaired by people that are unskilled and with parts that are substandard.
Police need to hold drivers accountable for the brakes and other safety systems on their vehicles. Crying “brake failure” should have consequences. If a driver blames the brakes, they should have to pay the costs of the investigation. If they find out the failure was due to worn parts or a pre-existing condition, there should be penalties.