chapter  10
30 Pages

Component Failure in Road Traffic Accidents

The usual reason for investigating the failure of a component found to be broken after a road traffic accident is to ascertain whether the componet was broken in the trauma of collision or had suffered some kind of prior mechanical failure that caused the vehicle to go out of control. In the first instance, driver error or freak road and weather conditions might be held responsible. In the second instance, it is essential to ascertain the mode and cause of failure in order to establish where and with whom responsibility might rest. For example, failure might have resulted from a manufacturing or assembly fault, or mechanical malfunction due to wear, or some progressive weakening such as fatigue or corrosion. If the cause turns out to be mechanical, then it is essential to take into account the recent servicing history of the vehicle and what adjustments might have been made shortly before the accident occurred, for example, overtightened wheel bearings, loose unions and a whole gamut of faults stemming from careless or unskilled maintenance.