Later this month is the annual brake safety blitz across North America, meaning truckers still have time to make sure their rigs are in top shape for possible inspections.

Brake Safety Week is set for Aug. 21-27. The event is organized by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, an association of local, state, provincial, territorial, and federal commercial motor vehicle safety officials, and industry representatives. During Brake Safety Week inspectors from Canada, Mexico and the U.S. will conduct their usual North American Standard Level I and V Inspections and capture and report brake-related data to CVSA. The results will be released in the fall.

Brake-related violations comprise the largest percentage of all out-of-service vehicle violations cited during roadside inspections, according to CVSA. Last year’s three-day International Roadcheck data showed brake systems and brake adjustment violations accounted for 38.9% of all vehicle out-of-service violations, the most of any category of vehicle violations.

To address this, CVSA’s Brake Safety Week seeks to:

  • Identify and remove commercial motor vehicles with critical vehicle inspection violation items identified in the North American Standard Out-of-Service Criteria from roadways.
  • Conduct inspections, identify and acknowledge commercial motor vehicles that do not have critical vehicle inspection violations by affixing those vehicles with a CVSA decal.
  • Encourage proactive vehicle maintenance in advance of the week.
  • Highlight the hard work and commitment to safety by inspectors, drivers, and motor carriers.
  • Remind drivers and motor carriers about the importance of proper brake maintenance and vehicle pre-trip and post-trip inspections.
  • Provide an opportunity for outreach and educational brake-safety efforts by inspectors.

During the brake portion of a vehicle inspection, inspectors will look for missing, non-functioning, loose, contaminated or cracked parts on the brake system, and non-manufactured holes (such as rust holes and holes created by rubbing or friction) and broken springs in the spring brake housing section of the parking brake.

They will listen for audible air leaks around brake components and lines and ensure the air system maintains air pressure between 90-100 PSI. Inspectors will also check for S-cam flip-over and measure pushrod travel. They will check that slack adjusters are the same length (from center of S-cam to center of clevis pin) and the air chambers on each axle are the same size.

They will also inspect required brake-system warning devices, such as ABS malfunction lamp(s) and low air-pressure warning devices, and will ensure the breakaway system is operable on the trailer, plus, inspect the tractor protection system, including the bleed-back system on the trailer. In addition to reporting total inspections and brake-related out-of-service violations, inspectors will also capture and provide data on brake hose/tubing chafing violations – the focus area for this year’s Brake Safety Week.

To prepare for Brake Safety Week, read the CVSA’s “North American Standard Roadside Inspection Vehicle Cheat Sheet” and listen to this installment of the “Eyes on the Road” trucking podcast episode “How to Benefit from Operation Safe Driver Week and Brake Safety Week.”

Photo: CVSA