Heads Up! Brake Safety Week Starts Now

GREENBELT, MD – As Canada is celebrating National Trucking Week Sept 6-12, one of the biggest industry safety events of the year will also be underway throughout North America with another right around the corner.

Law enforcement agencies will conduct brake system inspections on large trucks and buses to identify out-of-adjustment brakes and brake-system violations as part of the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance‘s (CVSA) Brake Safety Week.

The event is an annual outreach and enforcement campaign, organized by this group representing local, state, provincial, territorial and federal motor carrier safety officials and trucking industry representatives from Canada, the U.S. and Mexico.

According to CVSA, brake-related violations made up the largest number of all out-of-service violations cited during Operation Airbrake’s companion International Roadcheck campaign in 2014, 46.2 percent, which is focused on both vehicles and drivers. Figures for 2015 have yet to be released. Improperly installed or poorly maintained brake systems can reduce the braking capacity and increase stopping distance of trucks and buses, which pose serious risks to driver and public safety

Brake inspections conducted during Brake Safety Week include inspection of brake-system components to identify loose or missing parts, air or hydraulic fluid leaks, worn linings, pads, drums or rotors, and other faulty brake-system components. Antilock braking system (ABS) malfunction indicator lamps also are checked. Inspectors will inspect brake components and measure pushrod stroke where applicable. Defective or out-of-adjustment brakes will result in the vehicle being placed out of service. Read more about CVSA’s inspection procedures.

Additional inspections may include some Level I Inspections and in the 10 jurisdictions currently using performance-based brake testing equipment, overall vehicle braking efficiency will be measured. These systems include a slow speed roller dynamometer that measures total vehicle weight and total brake force from which braking efficiency is determined.

Last year, inspectors from participating agencies inspected 13,305 vehicles during Brake Safety Week and placed 2,162 commercial vehicles out of service (OOS) for brake violations. Of the vehicles inspected, the OOS rate for all brake-related violations conducted in North America was 16.2 percent, compared with 13.5 percent for the 2013 event. The OOS rate for brake adjustment was 10.4, and the OOS rate for brake components was 9.3 percent. View the 2014 results. 

Operation Safe Driver in October

Only a little more than a month after Brake Safety Week wraps-up, another continent wide blitz will get underway, but it will also focus on trucking’s four-wheeled companions of the roadway.

From Oct. 18-24 law enforcement agencies will engage in heightened traffic safety enforcement and education aimed at unsafe driving behaviors as part of CVSA’s Operation Safe Driver Week.

Activities will be held across Canada and the U.S. with the goal of increasing commercial vehicle and non-commercial vehicle traffic enforcement, safety belt enforcement, driver roadside inspections and driver regulatory compliance, according to the group.

In addition, law enforcement and transportation safety officials will offer educational and awareness safety programs to the motor carrier population and the motoring public.

Last year, during the week-long campaign, law enforcement officers pulled over 59,080 commercial vehicle drivers and car drivers for unsafe driving behaviors. Data was collected by 4,337 law enforcement officials at 1,549 locations across the United States and Canada. There also were outreach events throughout the week at high schools, state capitals, state fairs, truck rodeos, sporting events and other locations.

The top five warnings and citations issued to CMV drivers were: (1) speeding, (2) failure to use a safety belt, (3) failure to obey traffic control devices, (4) improper lane change, and (5) following too closely.

The top five warnings and citations issued to passenger car drivers were: (1) speeding, (2) failure to use a safety belt, (3) failure to obey a traffic control device, (4) possession/use/under the influence of alcohol, and (5) improper lane change.

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