Brake Safety: DOT inspection results


On May 15, 2019—in the unannounced brake safety DOT inspection—the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s (CVSA) law enforcement conducted commercial motor vehicle inspections focused on identifying brake safety violations.

The USDOT’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) reported that in 2017 over half a million commercial motor vehicle violations were related to brakes.

During this one-day DOT inspection, 55 jurisdictions participated (45 US states and 10 Canadian provinces), totaling 10,358 inspections. There were 1,667 vehicles—or 16.1% of all inspections—with critical brake-related violations that were placed out of service until the violations could be corrected. The remaining 84% of commercial motor vehicles inspected did not have any critical brake-related violations.

What was the inspection focus?

Inspectors focused on violations involving brake hoses and brake tubing, which resulted in identifying:

  • 996 units – Chafed rubber hose violations
  • 185 units – Chafed thermoplastic hose violations
  • 1,125 violations – Chafed rubber hoses
  • 124 violations – Kinked thermoplastic hoses

What are the most common brake-related violations?

According to the FMCSA, as of June 28, 2019, out of 1.8 million DOT inspections, the top five brake-related violations were:

  1. Clamp or roto type brake out of adjustment—86,296
  2. Commercial Motor Vehicles manufactured after Oct. 19, 1994, have an automatic brake adjustment system that fails to compensate for wear—45,594
  3. Brake hose or tubing chafing and/or kinking—37,737
  4. No or defective ABS malfunction indicator lamp for trailer manufactured after March 1, 1998—37,343
  5. Inoperative/defective brakes—32,125

The CVSA brake safety enforcement and awareness campaigns are meant to remove unsafe drivers from roads and remind drivers that braking systems need to be checked regularly.

Regular checks help to preserve the safety of both the drivers and others on the road. Although this campaign had a specific focus on brake violations, inspecting the brakes is a normal part of procedure during roadside inspections.

Any issues with the brake hoses and/or tubing can affect the whole brake system. In order to pass, brake hoses and tubing must be properly attached, undamaged, without leaks and have an appropriate amount of flexibility.

The CVSA will be holding a scheduled brake safety enforcement event this year, Brake Safety Week, which is scheduled for Sept. 15-21, at participating jurisdictions throughout North America.

Review the results from the 2018 Brake Safety Week.

Brake Safety Week is part of CVSA’s Operation Airbrake Program in partnership with FMCSA and the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators.