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Next month, from September 16th to the 22nd, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) will be hosting Brake Safety Week. Brake Safety Week is part of the Operation Airbrake Program, sponsored by CVSA in partnership with the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators and the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
This campaign is conducted to identify and remove CMVs with critical brake violations from both U.S. and Canadian roadways, while raising awareness relating to the dangers of faulty brake systems.
Brake Week Inspection Parameters
During Brake Safety Week, CVSA-certified enforcement personnel will be performing roadside brake system inspections on large trucks and buses. These inspectors will primarily conduct the 37-step North American Standard Level I inspection which includes an overall assessment of brake-system components, and simultaneously checks for leaking lines, missing brake hardware, worn brake pads or shoes, and/or defective rotors or drums. In 12 jurisdictions, however, inspection requirements will be defined via performance-based brake testing (PBBT). PBBT measures the cumulative brake force of a vehicle which is then divided by the vehicle’s weight to determine overall brake efficiency. Per the U.S. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations and CVSA’s North American Standard Out-of-Service criteria, the minimum braking efficiency is 43.5%.
Fleet managers and drivers beware—during this week-long inspection period, vehicles with improperly functioning brakes will immediately be placed out-of-service.
Brake Violation Figures Are Boggling
Unbeknownst to many, brake violations make up the largest percentage of citations that render a vehicle out-of-service. In fact, according to CVSA’s 30th annual International Roadcheck initiative performed in June 2017, brake violations amounted to over 41% of all out-of-service violations. With almost half of the violations being brake-related, the need to service and monitor brakes more often becomes glaringly apparent.
Why Brakes Have Problems
Braking systems are often impacted by other parts of the vehicle. For example, if an air brake system degrades, seals and valves are subject to contamination; but when breached with oil-like liquids, bigger problems may arise. Inspections uncover this very issue quite commonly. Drivers and fleet managers alike should check for moisture in the air brake system regularly.
Perform Brake Pre-Check Before Hitting the Road
To combat brake-related issues and expensive violations, drivers should always do a pre-trip visual vehicle examination. Check air chambers at wheel-ends, look at foundation drums for cracks, and linings can be examined without removing the wheels when dust shields aren’t present. Finally, look for cracks in the rotor.
Regular Maintenance is Key to Preserving Brake Function
Per a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Large Truck Crash Causation Study, large trucks involved in a crash where the braking capacity of the truck was critical were 50% more likely to have a brake violation than were trucks involved in crashes where the truck’s braking capacity was not critical. Of the trucks involved in brake-critical crashes, 45.5% had brake violations, compared with 29.9% of trucks involved in crashes of the same type but where their braking was not relevant. Beyond regularly performed pre-checks, detailed brake friction inspections and brake stroke measurements should be systematically conducted to further ensure a fleet vehicle’s brake health. Taking these extra maintenance measures is worth the time and effort, resulting in both safer vehicles on the road and on-time deliveries.
Bauer Built Brake Service Alleviates Violation Worries
Stay ahead of Brake Safety Week! Bauer Built’s knowledgeable and TIA-certified and trained technicians can ensure your fleet’s brakes are in tip-top condition, improving overall vehicle efficiency while reducing expenses related to costly repairs or violations. Find out more today about Bauer Built commercial mechanical services.
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