Are you aware that a Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) traveling at 65 mph can take up to almost 2 football fields (175 yards) to come to a complete stop, and that’s with properly functioning brakes. Add in poorly maintained brake systems and that distance can double.

Properly functioning brake systems are crucial to safe operation. CMV brakes are designed to hold up under tough conditions, but they must be inspected and maintained carefully and consistently so they operate and perform properly throughout the vehicle’s life.

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) will hold two annual brake safety campaigns in 2020:

  • Brake Safety Week is scheduled for August 23-29, 2020
  • There will be an unannounced one-day brake safety enforcement initiative, which will be held at any time throughout the year.

Brake Safety week is an annual outreach and enforcement campaign designed to improve commercial vehicle brake safety throughout North America. CMV inspectors will conduct brake system inspections on large trucks and buses to identify out-of-adjustment brakes and brake-system violations during both the announced and unannounced brake safety enforcement campaigns. The largest percentage of all out-of-service violations cited during roadside inspections are brake-related.

In 2019 there were 34,320 inspections as part of the Brake Safety Week and 4,626 vehicles were placed out of service after critical brake-related conditions were identified. The good news is that the majority of commercial motor vehicles inspected (86.5%) did not have any critical brake-related inspection item violations. According to CVSA President Sgt. John Samis with the Delaware State Police, “This inspection and enforcement event reminds drivers and motor carriers of the importance of properly functioning brakes and spotlights the work done by inspectors, motor carriers and drivers every day to keep our roadways safe by ensuring vehicles are in appropriate working condition.”

As part of last year’s Brake Safety Week, inspectors also collected and reported data on brake hoses/tubing.

  • 2,567 units had chafed rubber hose violations.
  • 1,347 units had chafed thermoplastic hose violations.
  • 2,704 violations included chafed rubber hoses.
  • 1,683 violations that included kinked thermoplastic hoses

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) tracks the results from Brake Safety Week. Its top brake violations are:

  • Clamp or roto type brake out of adjustment
  • Automatic brake adjustment system that fails to compensate for wear
  • Brake hose or tubing chafing and/or kinking
  • No or defective anti-lock braking system (ABS) malfunction indicator lamp for trailer
  • Inoperative or defective brakes

Take the third bulleted violation — brake hose or tubing chafing and/or kinking. That is easily detected by hand during a pre-trip inspection. In fact, a good start in getting ready for the CVSA Brake Safety Week is to remember the “eyes, hands and feet” pre-trip inspection routine.

Eyes – look at how your tractor and trailer are sitting. If leaning or slouched to one side, you may have suspension issues or a flat/underinflated tire. Either one will impact on-road braking performance and may cause brake adjustment issues.

Hands – on the pre-trip use your hands to check that electrical cords, air lines and glad hands between the tractor and trailer are all secure, with no abrasions, cuts or bulges and no air leaking. Rough or twisted brake hoses and tubing can be felt, as well as seen.

Feet – in the cab, use your feet to conduct the three-stage brake test: applied pressure test, warning light and buzzer, and tractor/trailer protection valve pop-out.

CVSA Brake Safety Week is coming August 23 – 29. You can be ready by always doing pre-and post-trip inspections and stopping in at any of our 7 service locations for a brake inspection. Remember, safe brakes protect you and everyone around you on the roadway.

Take advantage of our #BRAKESAFE special by clicking here.