Heads up: Brake Safety Day is Thursday, Sept. 7. The enforcement and compliance campaign is a companion to International Roadcheck, the largest targeted commercial motor vehicle inspection effort in North America, which took place in June. Brake Safety Day again targets large trucks and buses. Law enforcement agencies across the United States, Mexico and Canada will primarily conduct a Standard Level 1 Inspection, a 37-step procedure that examines both the vehicle’s mechanical fitness and driver operating requirements.
Next week’s event will particularly focus on 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. Anti-lock braking system malfunction indicator lamps are also checked, and inspectors will measure pushrod stroke, where applicable. In addition, in the 10 jurisdictions using performance-based brake testing equipment, vehicle braking efficiency will be measured.
Vehicles with defective or out-of-adjustment brakes will be placed out of service. According to the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA), which sponsors the event, commercial motor vehicle brakes are designed to hold up under tough conditions, but must be properly installed, routinely inspected and carefully maintained for optimal performance throughout a vehicle’s life. Failure to do so can reduce braking efficiency and increase the stopping distance of trucks and buses, a serious safety risk.
Out-of-adjustment brakes and brake-system violations combine to represent half of all out-of-service violations issued for commercial motor vehicles on the road, the CVSA says. The past two years alone, brake-related violations have comprised the largest percentage of out-of-service vehicle violations cited during International Roadcheck — 45.7 percent in 2016, and 26.9 percent in 2017.
Brake Safety Day, part of the CVSA’s Operation Airbrake program, is 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. The event is a follow-up to an unannounced Brake Safety Day on May 3, and replaces the seven-day Brake Safety Week campaign from previous years.
Since the program’s inception in 1998, more than 3.4 million brakes have been inspected.