Brake Safety Week – August 21-27, 2022
There’s no way to sugarcoat this: You don’t want your brakes to fail on the road.
The mere fact that your brake pedal is the only thing keeping you – and your multi-ton cargo – from a highway crash should make brake safety and maintenance paramount.
Brake-related violations actually make up the largest percentage of all out-of-service vehicle violations found during roadside inspections. According to the U.S. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), brake-related violations have accounted for eight out of the top 20 vehicle violations revealed during roadside inspections in 2022 alone.
Last year’s International Roadcheck showed that brake issues accounted for nearly 40 percent of out-of-service violations. Combine that with National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) data showing the involvement of large trucks in roughly 120,000 crashes leading to injury or death in 2019, and anyone can see how crucial brake safety is to overall on-the-road safety.
What makes this even more important is the fact that truck drivers have little room for error on the road. According to the FMCSA, tractor-trailer drivers in ideal conditions need an average safe stopping distance of 196 feet, compared with 133 feet for a passenger vehicle. When a truck driver needs more than half the length of a football field to brake safely, caring for those brakes becomes downright crucial.
Truck driving can be dangerous. Did you know just 15 minutes dwell time can increase the risk of a truck crash?
Getting your rig inspection ready
To remind drivers of the importance of brake safety, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) plans to hold this year’s Brake Safety Week this August 21-27 in partnership with vehicle inspectors in Canada and Mexico.
Brake Safety Week is part of CVSA’s Operation Airbrake, a joint education and advocacy initiative between CVSA and FMCSA designed to reduce the number of highway crashes caused by braking failures on commercial motor vehicles.
Throughout the week, vehicle inspectors in all three countries will conduct North American Standard Level I and V inspections at fixed weigh stations, pop-up sites and roadway patrol stops. These inspections comprise top-to-bottom vehicle and driver inspections, with or without the driver’s presence. The inspectors will then report all brake-related data to CVSA.
Results will be released by year’s end. Last year, inspectors looked over 35,764 commercial motor vehicles. Twelve percent were put out of service due to critical issues and 5,667 brake hose chafing violations were recorded. This year, the CVSA will focus on tubing chafing as well as brake hose deterioration.
What will these inspectors look for as they examine your brakes?
They’ll be looking for missing, broken, loose, contaminated or cracked parts on the brake system, holes caused by vehicle wear-and-tear, and broken springs in the spring brake housing section of the parking brake. They will also listen for audible air leaks around brake components and lines, and make sure air systems maintain proper air pressure. They’ll check your slack adjusters, air chambers, brake-system warning devices, breakaway systems, and trailer protection capabilities.
In addition to maintaining brake safety and getting unsafe vehicles off the road, Brake Safety Week also seeks to encourage truckers to become proactive about keeping their trucks road-ready, and give drivers the education they need to keep brake inspections up-to-date.