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CVSA’s Brake Safety Week is Set for August

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA)’s Operation Airbrake Program has scheduled its 2021 Brake Safety Week activities for August 22-28, 2021. Brake Safety Week is an announced and public awareness activity that will involve BOTH education and enforcement activities. 

Since brake-related violations comprise the largest percentage of all out-of-service violations cited during roadside inspections, CVSA has developed this focused program to conduct roadside inspections and raise awareness of this critical safety issue. 

The key items that inspectors will be looking at during these focused inspections include:

  • Driver’s license

  • Registration

  • Low air warning device

  • Pushrod travel (adjustment)

  • Brake linings/drums

  • Air loss rate (if leak detected)

  • Tractor protection system

Key Facts on Brake-Related Violations

As fleets are communicating safety messages to their drivers, it may be helpful to share information on the most commonly cited brake-related violations and related data to assist in preparation for the weeklong event.  

  1. During Brake Safety Week in 2020, 12 percent of all 43,565 commercial motor vehicles inspected were placed out of service for brake-related violations.

  2. During CVSA’s Roadcheck campaign last year, brake system and brake adjustment violations accounted for the most violations of any vehicle violation category, accounting for 38.6 percent of all vehicle out-of-service conditions.

  3. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)’s latest Large Truck and Bus Crash Facts report., “Brake system” was the third most cited vehicle-related factor in fatal commercial motor vehicle crashes.

  4. FMCSA data indicates brake-related violations accounted for eight out of the top 20 vehicle violations in 2020. The most commonly found violations are:

    1. Brake adjustment violations

    2. Brake system violations (number of defective brakes are 20 percent or more)

    3. Inoperative brakes

    4. Brake hose chafing or kinking

    5. Defective ABS indicator lamp

    6. Brake system pressure loss

It is important that fleets remember that properly maintained and adjusted brakes are a critical component to the safe operation of your vehicles. It directly impacts on the driver’s ability to effectively manage difficult operating conditions when they arise, and it is not whether these situations will occur, but when. 

Prepare Your Drivers with These Helpful Tips

As your fleet prepares for Brake Safety Week, here are a few suggested tips for drivers to keep in mind, including:

  1. Make sure you take your time to do good and thorough pre- and post-trip inspections, paying particular attention to the braking system components.

  2. Test for air leaks. Perform a brake application at 90 to 100 psi, then conduct a walk-around inspection and listen for audible air leaks. As noted above, the roadside inspector will test the low air warning device and, if a leak is detected, will measure the air loss rate. While conducting the walk-around inspection, look for loose, damaged or chafed hoses.

  3. Examine your brake shoes for cracks and wear and make sure they meet minimum lining thickness requirements.

  4. If the fleet policy allows, measure your brake stroke to ensure that pushrod travel is within the stroke limits.

  5. Ensure your ABS malfunction lamp is operating correctly.

  6. Remember while operating your truck to leave plenty of following distance between you and the vehicle in front of you. In addition, there are many factors that impact on your stopping ability besides the condition of your braking system like road and weather conditions, whether the vehicle is loaded or empty, tire pressure, temperature and tread wear, and speed, among others.

Technology’s Role in Safety - Both During Brake Safety Week and Beyond

Industry-wide efforts like Brake Safety Week play a crucial role in promoting safety across transportation and having the right fleet management technology in place can help support your safety efforts throughout the year.

Check out how Trimble’s wide range of safety-focused solutions ‒ from in-cab solutions like electronic logs and video systems to back office transportation management and maintenance platforms ‒ can help your fleet improve safety and increase productivity wherever the road takes you.