Brake Safety Week begins

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GREENBELT, Md. – Roadside enforcement teams across North America are placing a particular focus on stopping power today as the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance launches Brake Safety Week, running from Sept. 16-22.

Inspectors will largely be conducting the 37-step Level 1 inspections looking at everything from mechanical fitness to driver operating requirements. But it’s the brakes that get a special focus during this annual event – checking for loose or missing parts; air or hydraulic fluid leaks; defective drum or rotor conditions; measurements of pushrod travel; mismatched air chamber sizes across axles; air reservoir integrity and mounting; worn linings, pads, drums or rotors; and required warning devices.

“I’m not suggesting drivers can find them all, but I’m suggesting in some cases they can find more than they do,” CVSA director of roadside inspection program Kerri Wirachowsky, during a recent webinar. “Bend at the waist.”

Some items are clearly being missed. In an unannounced Brake Safety Day blitz on April 21, enforcement teams conducted 11,531 inspections but placed 1,595 – about 13.8% — out of service for brake violations.

Brake adjustment and brake system violations combined to represent 44.7% of all out-of-service vehicle violations recorded during the annual Roadcheck inspection blitz run from June 5-7.

The announced Brake Safety Week is also meant to include outreach efforts to help educate drivers, owner-operators and others about proper brake maintenance and use.

Brake Safety Week is part of the Operation Air Brake Program sponsored by CVSA in a partnership with the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators (CCMTA) and the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).

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John G. Smith is the editorial director of Newcom Media's trucking and supply chain publications -- including Today's Trucking,, TruckTech, Transport Routier, and Road Today. The award-winning journalist has covered the trucking industry since 1995.

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