From September 15 to 22, the CVSA’s Brake Safety Week will be in effect during roadside inspections. Inspectors will look specifically at brake hoses and tubing, a focus area that has led to 61,743 violations so far in 2019. More than 5,000 brake-related out-of-service (OOS) violations were issued during last year’s Brake Safety Week. According to the FMCSA, braking violations accounted for six on the top 20 vehicle violoations in 2017!
In addition, CVSA’s International Roadcheck inspection blitz in June of this year was specifically focused on steering and suspension systems. However, OOS violations for braking systems outnumbered OOS violations for steering and suspension by four times!
Why Brake Safety Week is important
Industry attention to brake safety is part of Operation Airbrake, a joint effort since 1998 between the CVSA, FMCSA and Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators. The week-long emphasis on braking systems focuses on two major elements of a Level 1 North American Standard Inspection:
- Required brake-system warning devices must be functional and in good working order
- Brakes must meet the regulations outlined in FMCSA Parts 393.40 – 393.55
The FMCSA conducted the Large Truck Crash Causation Study by reviewing data from approximately 1,000 injury and fatal crashes involving large trucks that occurred between April 2001 and December 2003. The LTCCS found that “brake violations are statistically associated with being the striking vehicle in crashes where braking is important” based on 77 serious crashes in that 20-month period.
Since then, a mix of Brake Safety Day and Brake Safety Week have taken place. Beyond standard inspections, Operation Airbrake gets even more specific in its governance of Parts 393.40 – 393.55. In fact, inspectors follow an 11-step protocol that is heavily emphasized during Brake Safety Week:
- Choose the inspection site
- Safety considerations
- Check air brake mechanical components
- Check steering axle air brake mechanical components
- Build the air pressure to 90-100 psi
- Check brake adjustment
- Inspect the tractor protection system
- Inspect the air brake ABS system (if applicable)
- Test low air pressure warning device
- Test air loss rate
- Finalize paperwork and provide the results to the driver (e.g., out-of-service, etc.)
Not all brake issues are equally severe. For example, 393.47E violations (Clamp or Roto type brake out-of-adjustment) in 2019 resulted in just .01 percent of these violations led to OOS situations (20 drivers among 137,692 citations). However, 15 out of 15 inspections that led to a violation of 393.42ABMTSA (brake missing on a trailer steering axle) led to an OOS status.
Brake Safety Week is more than assessing violations
Given the high rate of braking violations and collisions due to faulty braking, it is easy to see why carriers need to keep brakes in excellent condition. Inspections are just one part of Brake Safety Week, however. Education is also a focus. CVSA encourages carriers and drivers to make sure they are up to speed on braking safety, inspections and maintenance.
How your ELDs can help with Brake Safety Week
First, reliable ELDs provide preventive maintenance alerts designed to catch faulty brake issues before they occur. Fleet managers can quickly and thoroughly review records to ensure brakes and all components are regularly serviced, based on yard maintenance, miles driven, and age and type of braking systems in use.
Second, ELDs that capture driver behavior can relay important information to safety managers about what’s happening behind the wheel. When harsh braking behavior is frequently reported, it’s a good idea to coach drivers toward lower speeds and more focus when driving. This reduces risk, saves money on maintenance and avoids the costs of violations.
Third, ELDs with integrated DVIR can help bring better consistency and quality to your drivers’ pre- and post-trip inspections. This helps carriers stay on top of preventive maintenance tasks.
How to get your team prepped for Brake Safety Week
- Drivers must have license, authority number, registration and RODS ready for inspection
- Ensure preventive maintenance is current
- Examine all brake shoes and drums
- Inspect air systems to ensure they are not contaminated with oil or other fluids
- Make certain low air warning are working
- Check low air signals and listen for leaks
- Walk around trucks to check for leaks or loose hoses
- Check for cracks on air disc brake rotors
- Inspect brake friction (linings for thickness, any cracks, any visible wear)
Be diligent in pre-trip inspections, as it is more affordable and much safer to correct braking concerns from your own yard than it is to have a driver placed out of service. Plan for performance-based brake testing before sending trucks out on the road, both during and after Brake Safety Week.
For more details on brake inspections and how to pass with flying colors, check out EROAD’s webinar from last year’s Brake Safety Week. EROAD ELDs help carriers improve driver behavior and preventative maintenance, so please contact us with any questions.
Keith Halasy, CTP
Director of Marketing
Keith Halasy has more than 25 years' experience in software and SaaS marketing and business development, and has been focused on fleet management, asset tracking and mobile workforce management for the past 15 years. Keith has led corporate communications, product marketing, channel marketing and demand generation for companies ranging from startups to Fortune 1000 businesses.