CVSA Releases Results from Unannounced Brake Check Day

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) held its annual, unannounced brake check day on May 4, 2016, as part of its Operation Airbrake program. CVSA-certified inspectors in 31 participating U.S. states and Canadian provinces and territories checked brakes on 6,128 commercial motor vehicles.

  • 12.4 percent of vehicles were placed out of service with brake violations.
  • 13.9 percent of vehicles were placed out of service for violations other than brake violations.

Brake-related violations are typically the largest category of out-of-service items (representing 43 percent during Operation Airbrake’s companion International Roadcheck campaign in 2015). Improperly installed or poorly maintained brake systems can reduce the braking capacity and increase stopping distances of trucks and buses, which poses a serious risk to driver and public safety.

Most participating jurisdictions also reported the number of trucks with anti-lock braking systems (ABS) as well as ABS violations observed (out of 5,991 inspections). Our members found that most vehicles were equipped with ABS but some exhibited fault codes (lamp stayed on) or non-functioning ABS lamps. Trailers requiring ABS were twice as likely to exhibit ABS violations as straight trucks or tractors requiring ABS.

  • 91.5 percent (4,751) of 5,191 air-braked trucks (including tractors) inspected and 87.2 percent (650) of 745 hydraulic-braked trucks inspected required ABS based on their date of manufacture.
  • 85.5 percent (2,847) of 3,329 air-braked trailers inspected required ABS based on their date of manufacture.
  • 9.6 percent (456) of 4,751 ABS-required, air-braked trucks and 9.8 percent (64) of 650 ABS-required, hydraulic-braked trucks had ABS violations.
  • 19.8 percent (563) of 2,847 trailers requiring ABS exhibited ABS violations.
  • A small number of buses and motorcoaches (55) were inspected during this event. All but three were ABS equipped and none had ABS-related violations.
  • 6.1 percent (218) of 3,547 trailers inspected were not air braked (electric, surge, or other) and therefore not subject to ABS requirements.

Why Check ABS?
Anti-lock braking systems help vehicles remain in control in most cases where there is the possibility of wheel slip 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, ABS and safety systems that rely on ABS cannot help keep the vehicle in control, even prevent crashes, when they are disconnected or poorly maintained.

Operation Airbrake is a CVSA program dedicated to improving commercial motor vehicle safety through brake system safety, awareness and compliance throughout North America. The campaign’s aim is to help educate drivers and technicians, encourage regulatory compliance and enforce the regulations designed to ensure safe vehicle operation.

CVSA’s next Operation Airbrake event is Brake Safety Week, Sept. 11-17, 2016, which is a week-long brake safety campaign aimed at improving commercial motor vehicle brake safety through education and enforcement.

Learn more about Operation Airbrake.