It’s Brake Safety Week

Starting today, Aug. 22, through Aug. 28, commercial motor vehicle law enforcement personnel in Canada, Mexico and the U.S. will be cataloging and submitting brake inspection and violation data to the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) for Brake Safety Week, a vehicle safety initiative focused on the inspection and identification of brake violations in commercial motor vehicles. The results will be released later in the year and will include the brake-related out-of-service rates for the week, along with data on chafing air brake hose/tubing violations, the focus area for this year’s Brake Safety Week.

“Although inspection of a vehicle’s brake system and its components is always part of the roadside inspection process, Brake Safety Week aims to highlight the importance of brake systems and proper brake maintenance, operation and performance,” said CVSA President Sgt. John Samis with the Delaware State Police.

Throughout Brake Safety Week, CVSA-certified inspectors will be conducting North American Standard Level I and V Inspections. When checking the brake system and its components, the inspector will:

  • Check for missing, non-functioning, loose, contaminated or cracked parts on the brake system.
  • Check for S-cam flip-over.
  • Listen for audible air leaks around brake components and lines.
  • Check for improper connections and chafing of air hoses and tubing.
  • Ensure slack adjusters are the same length (from center of S-cam to center of clevis pin) and the air chambers on each axle are the same size.
  • Ensure the air system maintains proper air pressure.
  • Look for non-manufactured holes (e.g., rust holes, holes created by rubbing or friction, etc.) and broken springs in the spring brake housing.
  • Mark and measure pushrod travel.
  • Inspect required brake system warning devices, such as anti-lock braking system malfunction lamp(s) and low air-pressure warning devices.
  • Inspect the tractor protection system, including the bleed-back system on the trailer.
  • Ensure the breakaway system is operable on the trailer.

In addition to checking brake systems, inspectors may also check cargo securement, coupling devices, driveline/driveshaft components, driver’s seat (missing), exhaust systems, frames, fuel systems, lighting devices, steering mechanisms, suspensions, tires, van and open-top trailer bodies, wheels, rims and hubs, windshield wipers, etc.

If no critical vehicle inspection item violations are found during a Level I or V Inspection, that vehicle is eligible for a CVSA decal. Conversely, vehicles with critical vehicle inspection item violations may be placed out of service if they meet the North American Standard Out-of-Service Criteria. Those violations must be addressed before the vehicle will be permitted to proceed.

Brake Safety Week is a campaign of CVSA’s Operation Airbrake program, supported by CVSA member jurisdictions, the U.S. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators, and Mexico’s Ministry of Communications and Transportation and the National Guard.

View the results from last year’s Brake Safety Week.