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O/Os twice as likely to measure brake stroke

TORONTO, Ont. - When it comes time to crawling under a truck to mark and measure brake stroke, owner/operators are two times more likely than drivers to do the job, according to results from a survey ...


TORONTO, Ont. – When it comes time to crawling under a truck to mark and measure brake stroke, owner/operators are two times more likely than drivers to do the job, according to results from a survey conducted by the Owner/Operator Independent Driver Association, which represents 54,000 truckers.

Given the fact owner/operators make their living on the road, it’s probably not surprising that none could find two free days to attend the first North American Brake Safety Conference. Nevertheless, the feelings of 580 owner/operators and 49 company drivers regarding the brake issue were conveyed to delegates in the form of survey results.

Perhaps predictably, the survey found that O/Os and company drivers are using the same basic equipment. More than 90 per cent were dealing with S-cam brakes. Similarly, 35 per cent of O/Os and 39 per cent of company drivers said their trucks are fitted with manual slack adjusters, while the remainder use automatic slacks.

Differences did start to appear, however, when the Missouri-based lobby group asked questions about brake maintenance. While a basically equal percentage, 92 per cent and 90 per cent respectively, of O/Os and company drivers said that they personally inspect their braking system, almost twice as many O/Os (41 per cent versus 24 per cent) said that they measure the stroke.

“To be honest,” commented association spokesman Rick Craig, “we were surprised to find that any did push-rod measurement.”

That gap continued as the level of maintenance involvement increased. More O/Os (75 per cent) than company drivers (55 per cent) said that they adjust their own brakes and more than double (49 per cent versus 20 per cent) said that they repair and replace their own brakes.

Fully 96 per cent of the O/Os surveyed said that they had not been placed out of service in the past year due to out-of-adjustment brakes, and 94 per cent of company drivers gave the same answer. When asked if they had been placed out of service in the past year for brake defects other than adjustment, 97 per cent of O/Os and 98 per cent of company drivers said they had not.

Results like that make you wonder who is being taken out of service at these safety blitzes anyway. They are even more impressive when you consider that only 34 per cent of the O/Os and 35 per cent of the company drivers surveyed said that they had not had their brakes inspected by an enforcement officer in the past year. Twenty per cent of O/Os and 29 per cent of company drivers said they had been inspected once, while 18 and 20 per cent, respectively, had two inspections and 13 and six per cent had three. n


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