An ARCCA expert was asked to investigate a case where a driver claimed that his anti-lock brake system (ABS) failed, causing him to lose control of his vehicle during a heavy rain storm. The driver had taken his vehicle to the dealership for service numerous times due to an intermittent ABS light coming on indicating a possible ABS system failure. During these visits the light was ‘off’, and the technician claimed a failure could not be determined. A few days after the last visit, the driver had an accident during the previously mentioned heavy rain storm, causing damage to the vehicle and injury to the driver.
In accident reconstruction cases where there is a claimed brake failure, it is often debated whether a full mechanical inspection should be done or just an ACM (Airbag Control Module or “Airbag black box”) imaging of the vehicle. In this case, if the CDR report was the only information gathered from the inspection and a further review of the recalls, TSBs and brake system was not performed, it is possible this failure would have been overlooked and the claim deemed to be unfounded or from human error.
This case proved the importance of researching the background and completing a full mechanical inspection versus just an ACM in certain brake system failure claims.