Nearly 1,600 commercial motor vehicles with critical brake violations were placed out of service during an unannounced Brake Safety Day law enforcement initiative in the United States and Canada in April, according to the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance.
In all, officers conducted 11,531 inspections in 52 jurisdictions, removing 1,595 commercial vehicles with bad brakes from roadways, or 13.8% of the total number of inspections completed on April 25.
A little more than 10% of the 8,128 air-braked trucks and tractors requiring anti-lock braking systems had violations, and 5,331 hydraulic-braked trucks requiring ABS had violations, or 14.3%.
“Inspecting, identifying and removing commercial motor vehicles with brake violations from our roadways is critical to the safety of the traveling public,” CVSA President Capt. Christopher Turner with the Kansas Highway Patrol said in a statement on July 17. “Brake systems that are improperly installed, neglected or poorly maintained reduce braking efficiency and increase stopping distances of trucks and buses, posing a serious transportation safety risk.”
According to the 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, according to the study.
Those challenges were underscored at a CVSA brake safety symposium in May when motor carrier executives and commercial vehicle inspectors pointed out that there is a troubling knowledge gap among a large segment of the technicians responsible for keeping up with brake safety maintenance advances — and some even have a lack of basic brake maintenance.
That’s one of the reasons that CVSA has said Brake Safety Day aims to improve commercial motor vehicle brake safety awareness throughout North America. An important component of the safety initiative involves educating drivers, mechanics, owner-operators and others on the importance of proper brake inspection, maintenance and operation.
CVSA said it will convene another brake safety enforcement event this year. Brake Safety Week is scheduled for Sept. 16-22 at participating jurisdictions throughout North America.