Checked Your Brakes This Week? You’d better

OTTAWA — Beginning this week, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, through its North American enforcement affiliates, will be cracking down on trucks with suspect brakes.

The annual Brake Safety Week, which runs from Aug. 26 and continuing through Sept. 1, is an awareness and enforcement blitz to promote commercial vehicle brake safety on highways across Canada, the U.S., and Mexico.

CVSA initiated Brake Safety Week in 2005 as part of its Operation Air Brake Campaign.

“More than 3 million roadside commercial vehicle inspections are conducted annually throughout North America, and by far brakes make up the largest percentage of out-of-service violations cited during these inspections,” said CVSA’s Executive Director Stephen F. Campbell. “In order to encourage that more attention is being paid to this problem, Brake Safety Week focuses on both enforcement and education activities designed to enhance the safe operation of commercial vehicles.”

Brakes problems make up the highest
OOS factor in North America

Drivers will receive educational and other helpful information, such as the CVSA brochure “Have You Checked Your Brakes Today?” as well as CVSA’s “Spot Check” brake adjustment indicators drivers can install to help measure if their brakes are in proper adjustment.

Brakes are complicated components that contain many parts, all of which need constant inspection and attention to ensure proper operation and performance, says CVSA. They are arguably the biggest safety concern in trucking.

Results from a number of National Transportation Safety Board investigations into high-profile commercial vehicle crashes have revealed problems associated with brake operation, inspection and/or maintenance, notes the agency.

Results from the recent Large Truck Crash Causation Study indicated that brake problems were present at the time of the crash in 29.4 percent of the cases. Brakes made up the largest percentage, 56.6 percent, of vehicle out-of-service violations cited in roadside inspections conducted during Roadcheck 2007.

Nearly 9 percent of all brakes equipped with manual slack adjusters and four percent of all brakes equipped with automatic slack adjusters are placed out of service.

CVSA’s recent launch of its “In the Safety Lane with CVSA” podcast will include a discussion with leading experts on commercial vehicle brake related issues. Visit www.cvsa.org, and click on the podcast icon to listen in.

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