FREE LOOK-SEE: Inspection officers Terry Polreis (right) and Vic Butlin perform a voluntary brake inspection on a Kindersley Transport truck. The truck was in compliance and its driver soon on his way.Photo by James Menzies
CALGARY, Alta. – Alberta Inspection officers didn’t write a single ticket during this year’s Operation Air Brake, opting instead to educate rather than enforce.
Transport officers were set up at the Calgary Roadking on Aug. 30 and the Edmonton Roadking the following day to perform voluntary brake inspections.
Meanwhile, their U.S. counterparts did likewise at TravelCenters of America.
Transport officer Dale Howard told Truck News it was a good opportunity to educate drivers and help them better understand the importance of keeping their brakes properly adjusted.
“Today is strictly an educational day,” Howard stressed during the Calgary inspections. “It’s a nice place to interact. We’re on the drivers’ turf here at the truck stop so we’re certainly a lot more approachable and everybody’s been pretty happy to see us here.”
He said the majority of the trucks inspected were in compliance.
In fact, as the day drew to an end 11 truckers had volunteered for an inspection.
Six passed, two had minor problems requiring attention and three were out-of-service.
Drivers had to fix any violations before heading back out on the highway, but they were spared the expense of a fine.
“We’re just noting any violations we find and the drivers are taking care of that before they hit the road,” said Howard. “We’re just doing an aid and educate with the drivers.”
Not surprisingly, Howard said the most common problems were brakes that were out of adjustment. He said a proper pre-trip inspection should identify this problem.
“Brakes out of adjustment are our most common problem and that’s why we’re here – just to make sure the industry is well aware of proper brake adjustments and to make sure they’re in compliance,” Howard said.
“Automatic slack adjusters need to be checked just the same as the good ol’ manual slacks. A good thorough pre-trip will save you all kinds of time and aggravation down the road.”
Howard added “Everybody knows better, it’s just complacency. We’re just trying to spread the word that we’re here to help, we’re not the bad guys.”
Usually during Operation Air Brake, a number of fines are doled out right across North America. It’s a continent-wide initiative spearheaded by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA).