Over the last few years, CVSA Brake Safety Week finds 12-14% of inspected commercial motor vehicles had brake-related violations and were placed out-of-service.
Brakes are one of the most important systems in a vehicle and failure of any component of a brake system could be catastrophic.
However, we still see over 4,000 CMVs being placed out-of-service each year during an announced and public brake inspection blitz.
This year, the annual CVSA Brake Safety Week enforcement blitz is scheduled for August 21-27, 2022 to focus on brake hose/tubing chafing violations and will be conducted at fixed weigh stations, temporary pop-up inspection sites and during roving roadway patrols.
Enforcement officials will inspect commercial motor vehicles during this time and place vehicles out-of-service (OOS) until any critical OOS brake or other violations are corrected. Vehicles that pass may receive a passed-inspection CVSA decal.
How can you be sure your vehicle will not have brake violations?
Why brake maintenance is important and how inspectors look for problems
Routine brake system inspections and component replacement are vital to the safety of commercial motor vehicles.
“Poorly maintained brake systems can reduce the braking capacity and stopping distance of large trucks and motorcoaches, which poses a serious risk to driver and public safety,” said CVSA President Capt. John Broers with the South Dakota Highway Patrol. “In those split-second emergency situations, the proper functionality of the brake systems on large commercial motor vehicles is crucial.”
According to the US federal regulations and the North American Standard Out-of-Service Criteria, if your brake system efficiency falls below the minimum of 43.5%, your vehicle will be put out-of-service.
Brake system and brake adjustment violations during last year’s International Roadcheck inspection accounted for 38.6% of all OOS conditions. That was more than any other vehicle violation category.
“Brake systems” were the third most cited vehicle-related factor in fatal commercial motor vehicle and passenger vehicle crashes, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) latest “Large Truck and Bus Crash Facts” report.
Inspectors will be paying special attention to brake hoses and tubing, which must be properly attached, undamaged, without leaks, appropriately flexible, and free of leaks, corrosion, and any other type of damage.
At roadside, brake inspections include visual checks as well as an air brake test using a performance-based brake tester (PBBT) in the 14 jurisdictions where it is available. The performance-based air brake test measures the slow speed brake force and weight at each wheel and uses those measurements to determine the efficiency of the braking system.
As long as the brake system efficiency stays above 43.5%, the vehicle will not be placed out-of-service, unless another critical OOS violation is found.
How can I prepare for a truck inspection of my brakes?
If you know your brake system, you are more likely to know if there is an issue.
You should know what size and type of air brake chamber you have and learn how to properly identify it.
Most air brake chambers will have a marking on them, letting you know what type and size it is. If you know the type of chamber you have, you will also be able to determine the maximum allowable push rod travel for that brake chamber and whether it is in or out of adjustment.
You should inspect your air brake system and all brake components regularly during your pre and post-trip inspection to keep your vehicle in safe operating condition.
The list below covers some items you can visually check on a regular basis to ensure they are securely attached, leak-free, and free of damage, such as corrosion and holes.
The CVSA has answered some frequently asked questions about your air brake system and inspection and have also provided an air brake inspection checklist, which is a great way to be sure you are prepared for your roadside safety inspection.
In addition to being prepared for a brake inspection, it is even more important to be prepared for a complete truck inspection.
Vehicle maintenance costs can be a huge line item for fleet companies and at times, hard to keep under control. Routine maintenance of your vehicles is a necessity to ensure that your biggest assets always stay on the road.
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