CVSA Brake Safety Symposium Brings Together Experts to Reduce Roadway Crashes through Commercial Motor Vehicle Brake Safety Education

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) held a two-day Brake Safety Symposium, its first since 2006, in Schaumburg, Illinois, May 15-16, 2018. The symposium provided attendees with information, education and training related to commercial motor vehicle brake technologies, regulations, inspection procedures, tools and maintenance concepts.

Recent studies underscore the need for the symposium and its critical importance:

  • Results from last year’s Brake Safety Day found that 14 percent of all inspections conducted during that one-day brake safety initiative resulted in a commercial motor vehicle being placed out of service for brake-related violations.
  • Out-of-adjustment brakes and brake-system violations combine to represent half of all out-of-service violations issued for commercial motor vehicles on the road.
  • The Federal Motor Carrier Administration’s 2006 Large Truck Crash Causation Study indicated that brakes were a factor in 29 percent of all the crashes investigated.

The goal of the symposium was to educate drivers, mechanics, owner-operators, safety managers/directors, CVSA-certified commercial motor vehicle safety inspectors and others on the importance of proper brake inspection, proactive maintenance and safe operations with the ultimate goal of reducing the number of roadway crashes caused by braking systems on commercial motor vehicles.

Toward this goal, the symposium brought together the industry’s foremost experts and educational resources on commercial motor vehicle brake safety to give operators, maintenance personnel, regulators, law enforcement and safety agencies the tools they need to improve commercial motor vehicle braking system maintenance, operation and regulatory compliance.

  • Attendees learned how manufacturing standards, motor carrier regulations, inspection procedures and the out-of-service criteria all function to help ensure safe and reliable brake system performance in North America.
  • Participants were taught the basics of the S-cam drum, hydraulic and air disc foundation brakes, as well as antilock braking systems, electronic stability control and other brake-related safety technologies.
  • Attendees learned about the key functions of long stroke chambers, brake stroke indicators and automatic brake adjusters, and why we use these technologies.
  • Brake system aspects of the North American Standard Level I Inspection Procedure were explored, along with the use of performance-based brake testers (PBBTs) to measure braking performance and infrared thermal image screening as an inspection tool.

The second day of the symposium featured a panel of experts who explored common brake system issues, including common violations found during roadside inspections as well as common maintenance repairs. Speakers also explored repair and preventative maintenance, connected truck telematics and other technologies.

“The Brake Safety Symposium brought together vehicle and component manufacturers, carriers, fleet managers, technicians, law enforcement, crash investigators, regulators, academics, drivers and driver trainers in a multi-disciplinary forum to gain knowledge and develop strategies to bring about brake safety improvements,” said CVSA Executive Director Collin Mooney. “Every session that was held at the symposium was offered with the goal of improving safe commercial motor vehicle operations by expanding the participants’ knowledge and understanding of brake systems, technologies and regulations.”