Brake hose and tubing will be the focus of this year’s Brake Safety Week. The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance has set September 15-22 for its week-long focus on brakes. Inspectors will be looking to see if brake hose and tubing are properly attached, undamaged, not leaking and still flexible.
Every day of the year enforcement officials performing roadside safety inspections check brakes as part of their general commercial vehicle inspections. During this week in September, the same inspectors will be putting an even more critical eye on braking systems and adding a laser focus on hose and tubing.
For brakes to operate properly, all the components of the braking system must be operating as designed including things like hose and tubing. As part of their pre- and post-trip inspections drivers are supposed to be checking the condition of brakes and reporting any problems they find on their DVIRs so that fleet managers can ensure those problems are addressed.
Yet every year, either during regular roadside inspections or during the annual Roadcheck inspection blitz, trucks are taken out of service for various brake violations. In fact, brake-related violations made up 45% of all the out-of-service vehicle violations in last year’s Roadcheck event.
I know I have written about brakes more than a few times, but I feel compelled to keep talking about them when out of service rates because of brake issues are still so high.
If your trucks are getting placed out of service for brakes perhaps now is a good time to take a long hard look at a couple of things. First, how much attention are your drivers paying to their pre- and post-trip inspections? Are they just checking items off on the inspection list assuming your technicians are taking care of their brakes during PMIs and PM service? Maybe it’s time for a little refresher course on the proper way to perform a pre- and post-trip inspection.
Then you need to remind your technicians to pay attention to the things drivers call out on their DVIRs and to address any issues drivers find, especially those related to braking.
It is probably not a bad idea to also start tracking PM compliance. When a scheduled PM service is missed, you are missing an opportunity to look over the truck and discover a developing problem.
And finally you, as the fleet manager, can preach the gospel of safety. If you expect your drivers and technicians to care about safety then you need to demonstrate management’s commitment to it as well.
Brake Safety Week is still several months away, but now is a good time to start preparing for it so that your trucks won't be caught by the inspectors for having brake problems.