Brakes still need work

Takeaway from Brake Safety Week - We can do better

The recent Brake Safety Week (September 11-17), taught us a lesson. Despite what we may think, we still have work to do on brake maintenance.

During the safety blitz, 13.2% of the trucks and buses examined were placed out of service for brake violations. State, local, provincial, territorial and federal motor vehicle officers conducted nearly 18,400 inspections. They were looking for out of adjustment brakes and other brake system violations.

Inspectors looked at brake system components for loose or missing parts; air and hydraulic fluid leaks; and cracked, damaged or worn linings, pads, drums and rotors. They also checked anti-lock braking systems to see if indicator lamps were functioning properly.

What’s disturbing about the inspection results is that we all knew about Brake Safety Week well in advance; fleets had plenty of time to get their trucks into the shop to check brake operation. And still, 13.2% of the trucks and buses were found to have brake problems so severe that they had to be taken out of service. I wonder what that number would have been if we had not had been given notice of the impending inspection blitz?         

The big takeaway from this most recent Brake Safety Week is that fleets have more work to do in their shops and with their outside service providers to ensure that brakes are functioning in an efficient and safe manner.

This is a good time to look over your PMI forms to see if brakes are getting the attention they should. You may need to tweak PM inspections so that technicians spend a little more time checking braking system components.

You may also want to contact your brake parts supplier to schedule some additional training for your technicians on proper brake maintenance. A little refresher course may be all you need.

Despite the most vigilant maintenance program, it is still possible for brake problems to develop. But I think we can do better than a 13.2% OOS rate…much better.

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