CVSA Releases 2023 Brake Safety Week Results

Inspectors in Canada, Mexico and the U.S. conducted 18,875 commercial motor vehicle inspections Aug. 20-26 for the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s (CVSA) Brake Safety Week. For the weeklong inspection and enforcement initiative, inspectors focused on the brake systems and components of commercial motor vehicles and submitted brake-related data to the Alliance. Of the total vehicles inspected, 87.4% did not have any brake-related out-of-service violations.

Commercial motor vehicles are placed out of service – meaning restricted from further travel – when an inspector identifies critical vehicle inspection item violations, as outlined in the CVSA North American Standard Out-of-Service Criteria.

Of the 18,875 total commercial motor vehicles inspected, 2,375 (12.6%) were removed from roadways because inspectors discovered brake-related out-of-service violations. Some examples of brake-related out-of-service violations that automatically place the vehicle out of service include broken brake drums, loose air tanks, corroded holes in a spring brake housing, inoperative tractor protection valves, etc. Service brake violations, such as cracked linings, brake adjustment or loose chambers, may combine to put the combination of vehicles out of service under the 20% brake criterion. Certain service brake violations are automatically placed out of service when found on the steering axle.

Of the 2,375 commercial motor vehicles that were placed out of service, 295 (12.4%) had steering axle brake violations, 1,127 (47.5%) had stand-alone brake violations and 1,394 (58.7%) failed the 20% defective brakes criterion, which states that a vehicle is out of service if the number of defective brakes is equal to or greater than 20% of the service brakes on the vehicle or combination.

The focus area for this year’s Brake Safety Week was lining/pad violations. Throughout the week, and just as they do normally when inspecting the vehicle components of commercial motor vehicles, inspectors checked brake lining/pads for cracks, voids and contamination. They also looked for loose, missing or worn brake lining/pads. A total of 379 power (tractor) units and 261 towed (trailer) units had lining/pad violations.

Lining/Pad Violations
Power Unit Violations Towed Unit Violations Total %
Contaminated 214 59 40.03%
Cracks/Voids 98 98 28.74%
Loose/Missing 25 48 10.70%
Worn 64 76 20.53%
Total Violations 401 281 100%

Although lining/pad violations are not necessarily out-of-service violations, CVSA selected lining/pads as the focus for this year’s Brake Safety Week because brake lining/pad violations still affect a motor carrier’s safety rating. If left unaddressed, brake lining/pad violations may lead to more serious problems and can be out-of-service violations if they are on the steering axle or combined with other brake violations for the 20% brake criterion.

Fifty-six U.S. and Canadian states/provinces and territories and Mexico participated in this year’s Brake Safety Week.

  • In Canada, 1,327 commercial motor vehicles were inspected. Ten percent (134) had brake-related out-of-service violations. Twenty-six power units and 25 towed units had lining/pad violations.
  • Nine commercial motor vehicles were inspected in Mexico. One (11%) was placed out of service for brake-related violations. Lining/pad violations were identified on one power unit.
  • In the U.S., of the 18,031 commercial motor vehicles inspected, 2,240 (12.4%) had brake-related out-of-service violations. There were lining/pad violations on 352 power units and 236 towed units.

Eleven states with performance-based brake testers (PBBT) participated in this year’s Brake Safety Week by conducting inspections using their PBBTs. A PBBT is a machine that assesses the braking performance of a vehicle.

Of the 397 PBBT inspections, there were 18 failures, which is a 4.5% out-of-service rate. Ninety-five vehicles passed with at least one wheel below the 43.5% threshold. U.S. federal regulations and the North American Standard Out-of-Service Criteria require a minimum braking efficiency of 43.5%.

Brake Safety Week is part of the CVSA’s Operation Airbrake Program, a comprehensive program dedicated to improving commercial motor vehicle brake safety throughout North America. The goal is to reduce the number of crashes caused by faulty braking systems on commercial motor vehicles by conducting roadside inspections and educating drivers, mechanics, owner-operators and others on the importance of proper brake inspection, maintenance and operation.

Next year’s Brake Safety Week is scheduled for Aug. 25-31, 2024.

View the results from CVSA’s previous brake-safety inspection and enforcement initiatives.