Omnitracs' Road Ahead blog

Brake Safety Week 2020: 4 points to keep in mind to ensure safety and compliance

Michael Ahart
Michael Ahart
Vice President of Regulatory Affairs

On Sunday, August 23, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) will kick off Brake Safety Week. The weeklong enforcement initiative, which will last through Saturday, August 29, will take place across North America and comes just a month after Operation Safe Driver Week, another continental initiative event.

Throughout the week, public safety enforcement officials will pay special attention to the brake safety of commercial motor vehicles. To help you ensure you are as prepared as possible, I am highlighting four valuable points to keep in mind.

Point 1: How to know your brakes need maintenance

While some indicators of brake safety are more evident and easily felt by the driver, many additional components go into verifying how your brakes are performing.

Here are a few things the CVSA wants you to keep in mind on brake systems and inspections:

  • If your vehicle or combination includes units that were required to be anti-lock brake system (ABS) equipped, those units must have a functioning ABS malfunction lamp that turns on and then turns off when power is supplied to the unit.
  • Roadside inspectors will look for any signs of wear and tear on your brake hoses and tubes. An example of this would be a hose or tube that has been damaged by heat in a manner that restricts airflow.
  • U.S. federal regulations require a minimum braking efficiency of 43.5%. You can test this with a performance-based brake tester.

Point 2: Here’s what to expect during a roadside inspection

Once a vehicle has been selected for inspection, enforcement officials will conduct the following checklist inspection items:

  1. Check the air brake and steering axle air brake mechanical components
  2. Check the brake adjustment, the air brake antilock braking system (if applicable), and the tractor protection system
  3. Test the air loss rate (if necessary) and the air pressure warning device
  4. Build the air system’s pressure to 90-100 psi

After completing the inspection, the enforcement official will finalize the paperwork and provide the driver with the results.

Point 3: What a violation could mean for you

CVSA Director of Safety Programs Will Schaefer recently shared that recent CVSA data indicates that over 45% of out-of-service violations reported during CVSA enforcement initiative weeks were brake-related. Furthermore, 1 in 8 commercial vehicles inspected during Brake Safety Week last year was hit with an out-of-service violation.

Upon inspection, any vehicles found to have critical brake or inspection violations will be restricted from traveling until those violations are corrected.

Point 4: Where the future of brake technology could be heading

Just last year, CBS News highlighted that autobraking technology would likely be standard in cars by 2022. This technology is expected to reduce the number of rear-end crashes significantly.

While this future technology is both tentative and exciting, it’s important to note that tests are still underway, and this applies to cars — not commercial motor vehicles. Still, it’s certainly a potentially exciting advancement in technology for the automotive world. And, as evidenced in the past, commercial motor technology is never far behind advancements in standard automotive technology.

I wish you all a safe and compliant Brake Safety Week. I also encourage you to read one of my recent blog posts related to the CVSA’s Operation Safe Driver Week.