Brake inspections to intensify this week

Law enforcement agencies throughout North America will intensify their inspection efforts to identify faulty braking systems on large trucks and other commercial motor vehicles from Sept. 9-15 as part of Operation Air Brake/Brake Safety Week sponsored by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance.

Operation Air Brake is an ongoing effort of an international truck and bus brake safety campaign dedicated to improving commercial vehicle brake safety throughout North America and reducing the number of highway crashes caused by faulty braking systems.

Throughout the week CVSA-certified inspectors will conduct roadside inspections of commercial vehicles and their drivers with an emphasis on braking systems. CVSA-certified inspectors will also meet with drivers at truck stops and other locations where drivers and mechanics congregate in an effort to instruct and educate drivers on the inspection procedure and the operation of the braking systems.

Educational brochures will be available.

CVSA points out that out of adjustment air brakes and brake system defects constitute the major defect areas resulting in commercial vehicles being placed out of service. “Poorly adjusted or defective air brakes reduce the braking capacity for large vehicles and further inhibit their stopping distance. Under ideal conditions, the braking capacity of commercial vehicles is twice as far as that for cars and other smaller vehicles. This increases the risk to other users of the road and the driver (or his/her passengers) of the vehicle itself,” CVSA says.

In a matter of a few minutes a driver can easily adjust air brakes equipped with manual slack adjusters and check for other brake-related defects, CVSA adds. “It is the opinion of professionals in the enforcement, regulatory and training business that the primary causes for drivers not adjusting brakes is a lack of education and not having the proper commitment to safety. A good number of drivers are trained to adjust brakes but simply choose not to adjust them, or are not certified to do so.” CVSA points out.

Over the past few years there has not been a significant change in the rate of vehicles taken out of service for poor air brake adjustment or other brake related defects, CVSA adds. “Traditional enforcement methods, through the North American Standard Inspection Program by themselves, are having a reasonable impact in helping to remove dangerous vehicles off the road. However, much more needs to be done,” the safety organization says.

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