Chafed air brake hoses to be focal point of Brake Safety Week

TORONTO, Ont. – Tubing and hose chafing violations will be a focal point for Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) enforcement officers Aug. 23-29, as they conduct Level 1 inspections as part of Brake Safety Week.

“Rear-end collisions can be your worst nightmare, or a plaintiff attorney’s dream come true,” Mark Rhea, an independent transportation professional, said during an Aug. 20 webinar by Infinit-I Workforce Solutions. He noted 12% of verdicts involving commercial vehicle rear-end collisions award more than US$1 million in damages. “So, to put it simply, brakes are important.”

(Source: Screen grab)

Most inspections during the campaign will be of the Level 1 variety, with a special focus on brakes. In 14 jurisdictions, including Alberta, roller dynamometers may be used for performance-based brake testing.

Inspectors have been equipped with sheets depicting various levels of hose wear, and which should place a truck out of service. But the good news, according to Rhea, is that it’s an easy, inexpensive fix and easy to spot ahead of Brake Safety Week.

“It’s usually caused by dangling on the deck plate and the movement of air hoses over the deck plate,” Rhea said. “It’s very easy to find and fix.”

Will Schaefer, director of safety programs with the CVSA, agreed, adding hoses rubbing together is another common cause. Last year was the first that CVSA looked specifically at brake hose chafing, so it has limited data on the issue. However, of 34,000 inspections conducted during 2019 Brake Safety Week, there were 2,700 chafing rubber hose violations, and 1,700 for having kinked thermoplastic hoses.

Schaefer encouraged fleets to prepare for Brake Safety Week by ensuring their air brake systems are in good condition. The campaign is about awareness, after all, and not meant to be strictly punitive.

“Companies plan to get ready for these events that we conduct a few times a year and in doing that, they’re checking their vehicles. That, in and of itself, is picking up the level of maintenance on vehicles and reducing the likelihood of violations, rear-end crashes or runaway trucks,” he said.

In some cases, he added, drivers appreciate when an unnoticed defect is discovered by an enforcement officer.

CVSA’s Will Schaefer shows how the penetration of automatic slack adjusters (yellow line) has coincided with a decrease in violations (blue). (Source: Screen grab)

“Drivers are appreciative when they find out a brake drum has been damaged or a brake lining has gotten oil-soaked,” Schaefer said.

Another common source of violations are out-of-adjustment brakes, but automatic slack adjusters have done much to eliminate such violations. Manual slack adjusters are twice as likely to be out of adjustment, Schaefer said. But even automatic slack adjusters must be inspected and can go out of adjustment.

In recent years, about 20% of vehicles undergoing a Level 1 inspection have been placed out of service, and half of those were due to brake-related issues, according to Schaefer.

James Menzies

James Menzies is editor of Today's Trucking. He has been covering the Canadian trucking industry for more than 18 years and holds a CDL. Reach him at james@newcom.ca or follow him on Twitter at @JamesMenzies.

Have your say

We won't publish or share your data

*

  • The MTO is a farce. I recently called them to report trucks on a job I was working with.
    One guy had the king pin falling out the steer axle. He later went off the road.
    None of them were using their lift axles loaded.
    One tri-axle dump was hauling 40 ton loads and had wherl studs missing.
    Another group of them had no paperwork at all in the trucks and had their owners manuals out because they didn’t know how to raise the boxes to dump.
    What did the MTO do? NOTHING.

    Apparently they only have selected targeting.

    So glad I have now retired from trucking. The whole industry disgusts me now.