CVSA-certified enforcement personnel will conduct roadside inspections on commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) Sept. 16-22 as part of the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s (CVSA) Brake Safety Week in order to identify and remove CMVs with critical brake violations from roadways and call attention to the dangers of faulty brake systems.
Properly functioning brake systems are crucial to safe CMV operation, according to the CVSA. Brakes must be routinely inspected and carefully and consistently maintained so they operate and perform to the manufacturer’s specifications throughout the life of the vehicle. Improperly installed or poorly maintained brake systems can reduce braking efficiency, posing serious risk to public safety on our roadways.
Data and research are clear on the risks posed by faulty brake systems:
- According to the US Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Large Truck Crash Causation (LTCC) Study, 32.7% of large trucks with pre-crash violations had brake problems.
- Brake-related violations comprised the largest percentage of out-of-service vehicle violations cited during last year’s International Roadcheck.
- The LTCC Study’s relative risk analysis indicated that large trucks involved in a crash where the braking capacity of the truck was critical were 50% more likely to have a brake violation than were trucks involved in crashes where the truck’s braking capacity was not critical.
- According to the LTCC Study, of the trucks involved in brake-critical crashes, 45.5% had brake violations, compared with 29.9% of trucks involved in crashes of the same type where the braking was not relevant.
- Results from last year’s Brake Safety Day found that 14% of all inspections conducted during that one-day brake safety initiative resulted in a CMV being placed out of service for brake-related violations.
Brake Safety Week aims to reduce the number of crashes caused by poorly maintained braking systems on CMVs by conducting roadside mechanical fitness inspections and removing dangerous vehicles from our roadways.
In addition to inspections and enforcement, outreach efforts by law enforcement agencies to educate drivers, mechanics, owner-operators and others on the importance of proper brake maintenance, operation and performance are integral to the success of the safety initiative.
During Brake Safety Week, inspectors will primarily conduct the North American Standard Level I Inspection, which is a 37-step procedure that includes an examination of driver operating requirements and vehicle mechanical fitness. Inspections conducted will include inspection of brake-system components to identify loose or missing parts; air or hydraulic fluid leaks; defective rotor conditions; measurement of pushrod travel; mismatched air chamber sizes across axles; air reservoir integrity and mounting; worn linings, pads, drums or rotors; required brake-system warning devices; and other brake-system components. Vehicles with defective or out-of-adjustment brakes will be placed out of service.
In addition, in the 12 jurisdictions using performance-based brake testing (PBBT) equipment, vehicle braking efficiency will be measured. PBBTs measure the cumulative brake force for the entire vehicle and divide it by the total vehicle weight to determine overall vehicle braking efficiency. The minimum braking efficiency for trucks is 43.5%, required by Section 393.52 of the US Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations and the CVSA North American Standard Out-of-Service Criteria.
Brake Safety Week is part of the Operation Airbrake Program, sponsored by CVSA in partnership with the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators and the US Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.