Properly functioning brake systems are crucial to safe commercial motor vehicle (CMV) operation. CMV brakes are designed to hold up under tough conditions, but they must be inspected and maintained carefully and consistently so they operate and perform properly throughout the vehicle’s life. Brake Safety Week is an annual outreach and enforcement campaign designed to improve commercial vehicle brake safety throughout North America.
Brake Safety Week – September 7-13, 2014 – is part of the Operation Airbrake program sponsored by CVSA in partnership with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). During the week-long brake safety campaign, CMV inspectors will conduct brake system inspections (primarily Level IV Inspections) on trucks and buses throughout North America to identify out-of-adjustment brakes and brake-system violations.
Brake-related violations comprise the largest percentage (representing half – 49.6 percent during Roadcheck 2013) of all out-of-service violations cited during roadside inspections. Improperly installed or poorly maintained brake systems can reduce the braking capacity and stopping distance of trucks and buses, which poses a serious risk to driver and public safety.
Brake inspections conducted during Brake Safety Week include inspection of 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. Antilock braking systems (ABS) malfunction indicator lamps also are checked. Inspectors will inspect brake components and measure pushrod stroke when appropriate. Defective or out-of-adjustment brakes will result in the vehicle being placed out of service. Read more about the inspection procedure.
Additional inspections may include some Level I Inspections and, in ten participating jurisdictions, overall vehicle braking efficiency will be tested using performance-based brake testing (PBBT) equipment. These systems include a slow speed roller dynamometer that measure total vehicle weight and total brake force, from which braking efficiency is calculated. The minimum braking efficiency for trucks is 43.5 percent, required by U.S. federal regulation and the CVSA Out-of-Service Criteria.
Outreach and educational efforts by CMV inspectors, participating motor carriers and others in the industry also take place during Brake Safety Week and are integral to the success of the campaign.
In 2013, more than 20,000 vehicles were inspected. View the 2013 results. More than 30,000 brake inspections are expected to be conducted during 2014 Brake Safety Week. More than 3.4 million brakes have been inspected since the program’s inception in 1998.
In addition to Brake Safety Week, CVSA also holds an unannounced brake inspection day each year in the spring. This year, the Operation Airbrake unannounced inspection day was on May 7, 2014. Click here to read about the results.