Commercial drivers take note: Brake Safety Week is Sept. 16-22. It’s the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s annual chance to identify and remove tractor-trailers and other commercial motor vehicles with critical brake violations from U.S. highways and roads. It’s also a chance for the CVSA to draw attention to the dangers of faulty brake systems.
“Properly functioning brake systems are crucial to safe CMV operation. 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,” the CVSA said in its announcement of Brake Safety Week. “Improperly installed or poorly maintained brake systems can reduce braking efficiency, posing serious risk to public safety on our roadways.”
Brake Safety Week aims to reduce the number of crashes caused by poorly maintained braking systems on commercial trucks by conducting roadside mechanical inspections and removing dangerous vehicles from the road.
Inspections will also include inspection of brake-system components to identify loose or missing parts; air or hydraulic fluid leaks; defective rotor conditions; worn linings, pads, drums or rotors; required brake-system warning devices; and other brake-system components. Any commercial vehicles found with defective or out-of-adjustment brakes will be placed out of service.
Additionally, law enforcement agencies will make outreach efforts to educate drivers, mechanics, owner-operators, and others on the importance of proper brake maintenance, operation, and performance.
Shockingly, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) Large Truck Crash Causation Study found that a third of all large commercial trucks with crash-relevant violations had brake problems. The FMCSA’s study also found other significant correlations between brake violations and crashes.
According to the study, brake-related problems comprised the largest percentage of safety violations leading to commercial vehicles being pulled out of service during sweeping road checks last year.
Nearly half of commercial vehicles in which brakes played a critical role had brake violations, compared to 30 percent of trucks involved in crashes where braking was not critical, the FMCSA study found.
Last year, in a one-day event focusing on brake safety, inspectors found that 14 percent of all commercial motor vehicles checked resulted in a vehicle being placed out of service for brake-related violations, the CVSA said.