Sep 7, 2017



It’s time to put the brakes on bad brakes.

That, in a nutshell, is the message behind the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s Brake Safety Day, which this year is today. Law enforcement agencies throughout North America will be conducting spot inspections on trucks and buses. And their primary goal with the day-long emphasis is to motivate truck and bus owners, big and small, to get their vehicles’ brake systems in proper working order — and to keep them there year-round.

Officers will primarily be conducting standard North American Standard Level I Inspections. That’s a 37-step procedure that includes an examination of both driver operating requirements and vehicle mechanical fitness. But special emphasis will be placed on the 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. ABS malfunction indicator lamps are also checked. Inspectors also will measure pushrod stroke, where applicable.

Any big trucks or buses found to have defective or out-of-adjustment brakes will be placed out of service, depriving their owners of revenue-producing opportunities for as long as it takes to get those vehicles repaired and back into service. It can also cost operators customers who decide to use other transportation service providers because of concerns about safety and reliability.

And if you’re thinking that faulty braking systems really isn’t a big deal in today’s trucking industry, think again.

In 2016, more than 5,000 of the more than 18,000 vehicles inspected during the annual inspection blitz — or 28 percent — were removed from service. Of those, nearly 2,400 were forced out of service because faulty braking systems were discovered. And trailers are almost as likely to be operating with bad braking systems. Nearly 16 percent of the trailers inspected during the 2016 International Roadcheck inspection event had to be taken out of service because of braking faults.

This year’s Brake Safety Day follows up on the unannounced Brake Safety Day the CVSA and supporting law enforcement agencies conducted on May 3 and replaces the seven-day Brake Safety Week campaign promoted in past years.

In addition to the CVSA, Brake Safety Day is co-sponsored by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and Canada’s Council of Motor Transport Administrators.

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