Thursday, Sept. 7, 2017, is Brake Safety Day, an enforcement and compliance campaign where law enforcement agencies across North America will conduct inspections on large trucks and buses to identify out-of-adjustment brakes, and brake-system and antilock braking system (ABS) violations as part of the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s (CVSA) Operation Airbrake Program.
The goal of Brake Safety Day is to reduce the number of crashes caused by poorly maintained braking systems on commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) by conducting roadside mechanical fitness inspections, and identifying and removing vehicles with critical brake violations from our roadways.
In addition, outreach and educational efforts by CMV inspectors, motor carriers and others are integral to the success of the campaign. Brake Safety Day activities seek to educate drivers, mechanics, owner-operators and others on the importance of proper brake maintenance, operation and performance.
Properly functioning brake systems are crucial to safe CMV operation. CMV brakes are designed to hold up under tough conditions, but they must be routinely inspected and maintained carefully and consistently so they operate and perform properly throughout the vehicle’s life. Improperly installed or poorly maintained brake systems can reduce braking efficiency and increase the stopping distance of trucks and buses, posing serious risks to all highway users and public safety. Antilock braking systems help the vehicle, and thus the driver, maintain control in certain situations, which reduces the risk of some types of crashes.
Brake-related violations comprised the largest percentage (representing 45.7 percent) of all out-of-service violations cited during Operation Airbrake’s companion International Roadcheck campaign in 2016, which focused on inspections of both commercial motor vehicles and drivers.
On Brake Safety Day, inspectors will primarily conduct the North American Standard Level I Inspection, which is a 37-step procedure that includes an examination of both driver operating requirements and vehicle mechanical fitness. Inspections conducted will include inspection of brake-system components to identify loose or missing parts, air or hydraulic fluid leaks, worn linings, pads, drums or rotors, and other faulty brake-system components. ABS malfunction indicator lamps are also checked. Inspectors will measure pushrod stroke, where applicable. Vehicles with defective or out-of-adjustment brakes will be placed out of service.
Furthermore, in the 10 jurisdictions using performance-based brake testing (PBBT) equipment, vehicle braking efficiency will be measured. PBBT systems include a slow speed roller dynamometer that measures total vehicle weight and total brake force from which braking efficiency is determined. The minimum braking efficiency for trucks is 43.5 percent, required by U.S. federal regulation and the CVSA out-of-service criteria.
This year’s Sept. 7 Brake Safety Day follows up on CVSA’s May 3, 2017, unannounced Brake Safety Day and replaces the seven-day Brake Safety Week campaign from previous years.
More than 3.4 million brakes have been inspected since the program’s inception in 1998.
Brake Safety Day is part of the Operation Airbrake Program, sponsored by CVSA in partnership with the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators (CCMTA) and the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).