During the 2020 Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) Annual Brake Safety Week roadside inspections, 12% of the trucks and buses inspected were placed out of service for brake-related violations. More than one in ten trucks’ brakes were bad enough to take them off the road. Many of these violations are preventable through regular equipment inspections and maintenance.

Discussion Points:
• What needs to be done to prepare for and prevent brake-related violations?
• What are any concerns you have?
• If your truck was placed out of service, why?
• What will inspectors look for during an inspection?
• Why is it necessary to perform a pre-trip inspection?

Preventive maintenance and regular truck inspections are the best way to avoid brake failure. Drivers should visually inspect the brake system before the start of their shift and throughout the day. Pre-trip inspections and walkarounds can make a difference by catching brake-related issues before they become a problem.

CVSA’s Brake Safety Week set for August 21-27, is an annual event that involves brake safety inspections and driver education. CVSA-certified inspectors at weigh stations, roadside, and designated inspections sites throughout the United States, Canada, and Mexico will inspect commercial trucks and buses. Inspectors will conduct the North American Standard Level 1 and 5 inspections and collect and report brake-related data to CVSA; the inspections will focus on capturing data on brake hose and tube chafing violations.

Where brake systems are concerned, inspectors will check for loose, missing, or damaged parts, including cracked drums and rotors, thinning pads and linings, leaks from wheel seals, and chafing caused by friction from hoses and tubes rubbing against other parts. Replace brake system component parts according to the manufacturer’s standards. Make sure you know what to do if your brakes fail. If the brakes fail on a downgrade, look for an escape ramp or open field. If you lose hydraulic pressure, downshift into a lower gear and pump your brakes to generate some hydraulic pressure, use your parking brake to stop the truck if possible.

Routine inspections and proper maintenance on your truck’s brake system should ensure the brakes are in working order. It is better to catch brake malfunctions before going out on the road. If the brakes are out of adjustment, have a qualified mechanic make the appropriate repairs and inspect them.

As always, be safe out there!