CVSA Releases 2016 Brake Safety Week Results

Commercial motor vehicle (CMV) enforcement members of the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) conducted 18,385 CMV and brake-system inspections during Brake Safety Week, Sept. 11-17, 2016.

During the week-long annual brake safety campaign, local, state, provincial, territorial and federal inspectors throughout the United States and Canada conducted inspections to identify out-of-adjustment brakes and brake-system violations. Roadside inspections included inspection of brake-system components to identify loose or missing parts; air or hydraulic fluid leaks; cracked, damaged or worn linings, pads, drums or rotors; and other faulty brake-system components.

Inspectors reported 13.2 percent of inspections with out-of-service brake violations and 14.8 percent of inspections with non-brake related out-of-service violations, each inclusive of some with violations in both categories.

Inspectors also checked anti-lock braking system (ABS) malfunction indicator lamps for compliance with jurisdictional regulations, an effort that was begun during CVSA’s unannounced Brake Check Day in May. Participating jurisdictions reported the number of trucks and buses with anti-lock braking systems as well as ABS violations observed. The ABS survey for 2016 Brake Safety Week found the following:


  • 93.2 percent of air-braked trucks (including tractors) inspected and 90.4 percent of hydraulic-braked trucks inspected required ABS, based on their date of manufacture.
  • 89.4 percent of air-braked trailers inspected required ABS, based on their date of manufacture.
  • 8.8 percent of ABS-required, air-braked trucks and 8.8 percent ABS-required, hydraulic-braked trucks were found with ABS violations.


  • 15.8 percent of trailers requiring ABS were found with ABS violations.
  • 7.6 percent of trailers inspected were not air- or hydraulic-braked (i.e., electric, surge or other) and therefore not subject to ABS requirements.


  • 328 buses and motor coaches were inspected during this event, of which 80.8 percent were ABS required, and only 2 buses (0.8 percent of those requiring ABS) exhibited ABS violations.

Anti-lock braking systems, in most cases, help vehicles remain in control where there is the possibility of wheel slippage when braking. ABS reduces the chance of jackknifing and increases control in braking situations. ABS also provides a platform for stability control systems that help prevent loss of control or rollover crashes. Furthermore, newly available and future safety systems all rely on functional brakes, tires and ABS. Just as foundation brakes must be well maintained and tires must be properly inflated, safety systems that rely on ABS cannot help keep the vehicle in control, or help to prevent crashes, when they are disconnected or poorly maintained.

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. Brake Safety Week serves as a reminder to motor carriers and drivers to take proactive steps to ensure their vehicle’s brakes are compliant, functioning properly and road safe.

“Brakes must be routinely checked and properly maintained to ensure the safety of the commercial motor vehicle, the CMV driver and everyone else on the road,” said CVSA President Julius Debuschewitz of Yukon Highways and Public Works. “Although brake inspections are a part of the Level I inspections conducted by our hard-working CMV inspectors every day, Brake Safety Week is an opportunity to remind motor carriers and drivers of the importance of brake health and safety, and it provides the opportunity for our inspectors to conduct targeted and focused inspections to identify and remove commercial motor vehicles that have brakes with critical violations from our roadways.”

Brake Safety Week is part of the Operation Airbrake Program sponsored by CVSA in partnership with FMCSA and the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators (CCMTA). The Operation Airbrake Program is an international enforcement activity dedicated to preventing large truck and bus crashes, and saving lives throughout North America. The campaign seeks to highlight the importance of proper brake inspection and maintenance in an effort to reduce the number of brake-related violations discovered during a roadside inspection.

The program was first developed in 1998 in Canada and has grown to include two annual enforcement events, as well as educational outreach activities throughout the year all across North America. More than 3.8 million brakes have been inspected since the program’s inception.

Learn more about CVSA’s Operation Airbrake Program and Brake Safety Week.