During the week of Sept. 6-12, 2015, law enforcement agencies across North America will conduct brake system inspections on large trucks and buses to identify out-of-adjustment brakes and brake-system violations as part of the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance's (CVSA) Brake Safety Week.
Brake Safety Week is an annual outreach and enforcement campaign designed to improve commercial vehicle brake safety throughout North America. Outreach and educational efforts by commercial motor vehicle (CMV) inspectors, participating motor carriers and others in the industry are integral to the success of the campaign.
Brake-related violations comprised the largest percentage (representing 46.2 percent) of all out-of-service violations cited during Operation Airbrake's companion International Roadcheck campaign in 2014, which is focused on both vehicles and drivers. Improperly installed or poorly maintained brake systems can reduce the braking capacity and increase stopping distance of trucks and buses, which pose serious risks to driver and public safety.
Brake inspections conducted during Brake Safety Week include inspection of brake-system components to identify loose or missing parts, air or hydraulic fluid leaks, worn linings, pads, drums or rotors, and other faulty brake-system components. Antilock braking system (ABS) malfunction indicator lamps also are checked. Inspectors will inspect brake components and measure pushrod stroke where applicable. Defective or out-of-adjustment brakes will result in the vehicle being placed out of service.
Additional inspections may include some Level I Inspections and, in the 10 jurisdictions currently using performance-based brake testing (PBBT) equipment, overall vehicle braking efficiency will be measured. These systems include a slow speed roller dynamometer that measures total vehicle weight and total brake force from which braking efficiency is determined. The minimum braking efficiency for trucks is 43.5 percent, required by U.S. federal regulation and the CVSA Out-of-Service Criteria.
Last year, inspectors from participating agencies inspected 13,305 vehicles during 2014 Brake Safety Week and placed 2,162 commercial vehicles out of service (OOS) for brake violations. Of the vehicles inspected, the OOS rate for all brake-related violations conducted in North America was 16.2 percent, compared with 13.5 percent for the 2013 event. The OOS rate for brake adjustment was 10.4, and the OOS rate for brake components was 9.3 percent.
More than 3.4 million brakes have been inspected since the program's inception in 1998.
Brake Safety Week is part of the Operation Airbrake program sponsored by CVSA in partnership with the U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).