Brake Safety Week – Sept. 6-12

During the week of Sept. 6-12, 2015, law enforcement agencies across North America will conduct brake system inspections on large trucks and buses to identify out-of-adjustment brakes and brake-system violations as part of the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance Brake Safety Week.

Outreach and educational efforts by commercial motor vehicle (CMV) inspectors, participating motor carriers and others in the industry also take place during Brake Safety Week and are integral to the success of the campaign.

Properly functioning brake systems are crucial to safe CMV operation. CMV brakes are designed to hold up under tough conditions, but they must be routinely inspected and maintained carefully and consistently so they operate and perform properly throughout the vehicle’s life. Brake Safety Week is an annual outreach and enforcement campaign designed to improve commercial vehicle brake safety throughout North America.

Brake-related violations comprised the largest percentage of all out-of-service violations cited during Operation Airbrake’s companion campaign in 2014, which is focused on both vehicles and drivers. Improperly installed or poorly maintained brake systems can reduce the braking capacity and increase stopping distance of trucks and buses, which pose serious risks to driver and public safety

Brake inspections conducted during Brake Safety Week include inspection of brake-system components to identify loose or missing parts, air or hydraulic fluid leaks, worn linings, pads, drums or rotors, and other faulty brake-system components. Anti-lock braking system (ABS) malfunction indicator lamps also are checked. Inspectors will inspect brake components and measure pushrod stroke where applicable. Defective or out-of-adjustment brakes will result in the vehicle being placed out of service.

Additional inspections may include some Level I Inspections and, in the 10 jurisdictions currently using performance-based brake testing (PBBT) equipment, overall vehicle braking efficiency will be measured.These systems include a slow speed roller dynamometer that measures total vehicle weight and total brake force from which braking efficiency is determined. The minimum braking efficiency for trucks is 43.5 percent, required by U.S. federal regulation and the CVSA Out-of-Service Criteria.

The Annual Brake Safety week is designed to concentrate on the importance of good brake maintenance. During the week, truck inspectors select trucks, for detailed brake inspections, from the millions that pass by them every day. They do not inspect every truck but look at the ones that appear to have some brake issues.

Last year, inspectors from participating agencies selected 13,305 vehicles for detailed inspection during 2014 Brake Safety Week. Of those vehicles, 2,162 were placed out of service (OOS) for brake violations.

While the out of service rate for those selected and inspected vehicles was 16.2 percent, it in no way implies that that is the OOS rate for all trucks operating in this country. It is actually good news. Of the millions of trucks that operate around this country in a week, trained inspectors found only 2,162 that had serious brakedefects. Since the program’s inception in 1998, more than 3.4 million brakes have been inspected.