More Than 500 Commercial Motor Vehicles Removed from North American Roadways in One Day Due to Brake Violations

Inspectors in 47 jurisdictions throughout Canada, Mexico and the U.S. conducted 4,898 commercial motor vehicle inspections in one day as part of the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s (CVSA) brake-safety inspection and enforcement event.

Each year, CVSA law enforcement jurisdictions are invited to participate in a one-day unannounced brake-safety inspection and regulatory compliance enforcement event. On that day, CVSA-certified commercial motor vehicle inspectors conduct their routine roadside inspections with a focus on brake systems and components, and provide brake-related inspection and violation data to CVSA.

This year’s Brake Safety Day data found that of the 4,898 inspections conducted, 4,328 commercial motor vehicles did not have any brake-related out-of-service violations – 88.4% of the total number of vehicles inspected. However, inspectors identified 570 (11.6%) commercial motor vehicles that were traveling on roadways with brake-related critical inspection item vehicle violations. Those vehicles were immediately restricted from further travel until the critical violations could be properly addressed.

Inspectors identified 330 commercial motor vehicles with 20% brake violations; meaning 20% or more of the vehicle’s (or combination of vehicles) service brakes had an out-of-service condition resulting in a defective brake. That was the top Brake Safety Day violation, accounting for 57.9% of all brake-related out-of-service violations.

Inspectors found other brake violations on 256 (44.9%) of the commercial motor vehicles inspected. Examples of other brake violations include worn brake lines/hoses, broken brake drums, inoperative tractor protection system, inoperative low-air warning device, air leaks, hydraulic fluid leaks, etc.

Seventy-three commercial motor vehicles had steering-related brake violations – 12.8% of all brake-related out-of-service violations.

Brake Lining/Pad Data

This year, emphasis was placed on brake lining/pad health and safety. Brake lining/pad issues may result in violations or out-of-service conditions and may affect a motor carrier’s safety rating. Inspectors found 108 power units and 66 towed units with lining/pad violations.

A total of 114 brake lining/pad violations were discovered on power units. The top brake lining/pad violation on power units was for contamination, with 48 violations.

Seventy-one brake lining/pad violations were identified on towed units. Twenty-three of the violations were for cracks/voids in the linings/pads – the top brake lining/pad violation on towed units.­­

Violation Description Power Unit Towed Unit Power/Towed Units Combined
Contaminated 48 14 62
Cracks/Voids 28 23 51
Worn 28 21 49
Loose/Missing 10 13 23
Total Violations 114 71 185


Nine U.S. jurisdictions with performance-based brake testers (PBBT) utilized them during Brake Safety Day. A PBBT is a machine that assesses the braking performance of a vehicle. U.S. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations and CVSA’s North American Standard Out-of-Service Criteria require a minimum braking efficiency of 43.5%. If the vehicle’s braking efficiency is below 43.5%, it’s not providing the minimum stopping power required and needs to be serviced.

Eighty-eight PBBT inspections were conducted on Brake Safety Day. Four (4.5%) failed to meet the 43.5% minimum braking efficiency required and were placed out of service.

U.S. Data

Thirty-seven U.S. jurisdictions participated in this year’s Brake Safety Day with inspectors conducting 3,859 Level I, IV and V Inspections. There were no brake-related out-of-service violations on 3,411 of those commercial motor vehicles. However, 448 commercial motor vehicles were placed out of service for brake-related violations, which is an 11.6% vehicle out-of-service rate. Additionally, 74 power units and 46 towed units had brake lining/pad violations.

Canadian Data

Inspectors in nine Canadian provinces and territories conducted 1,021 Level I, IV and V Inspections, of which 904 of the commercial motor vehicles inspected did not have any brake-related out-of-service violations. Conversely, inspectors removed 117 commercial motor vehicles from roadways for brake-related out-of-service violations, which is an 11.5% vehicle out-of-service rate. Additionally, 33 power units and 18 towed units had brake lining/pad violations.

Mexican Data

In Mexico, 18 Level I and IV Inspections were conducted. Thirteen of those vehicles did not have any brake-related out-of-service violations. However, five commercial motor vehicles were placed out of service for brake-related violations – a 27.8% vehicle out-of-service rate. Additionally, inspectors identified one lining/pad violation on a power unit and two on towed units.

CVSA’s unannounced Brake Safety Day is part of Operation Airbrake, a CVSA program dedicated to improving commercial motor vehicle brake safety throughout North America. CVSA’s seven-day Brake Safety Week, another Operation Airbrake campaign, is scheduled for Aug. 25-31.

View the results from previous brake safety campaigns.