The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance announced that they will offer roadside inspections for all commercial vehicles from Sept. 16-22. This event, known as Brake Safety Week, is a recurring occasion for the CVSA. Each year the organization examines CMVs, recording data and raising awareness about the dangers of improperly maintained braking systems.
Due to the nature of CMVs (increased size, weight), their ability to stop is essential to preserving driver safety and, in some cases, mortality on the roadways. Buses and trucks in particular are often involved in crashes that turn fatal, according to data from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. While this problem was at its 21st century worst in 2005 before falling off, researchers are noticing a disturbing rise in the amount of crashes involving a CMV. CVSA's Brake Safety Week is a reaction and a prevention tool to keep roadways safe.
"The CVSA failed 14% of all CMVs for brake system violations in 2017."
The state of brake systems on CMVs
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration found that nearly a third (32.7 percent) of all CMVs with pre-crash violations contained brake problems. The data, along with numbers from the 2017 CVSA International Roadcheck (which examined out-of-service vehicle violations), confirmed that poor brake system management can be disastrous for CMVs.
Last year alone, on its Brake Safety Day, the CVSA failed 14 percent of all CMVs for brake system violations, placing the automobiles out of service. This inspection included 7,698 CMVs from the U.S. and Canada. Only 22 percent of vehicles were placed out of service, meaning the vast majority of failures came from braking system violations.
The information available is disturbing. Despite the obvious importance of braking systems, certain CMVs are not paying the issue adequate attention. Part of the problem is finding the time, according to Truckers Report. Many CMV drivers are placed in charge of hectic schedules that prioritize productivity. Getting an inspection can be a time-consuming process, one which may result in a bill. Drivers may feel their best bet is to keep their heads down and just do their jobs.
To these operators, events like Brake Safety Week can feel like a trap. No trucker wants to have a vehicle placed out of service, especially if the owning company can't afford to deploy a replacement right away. While the majority of CMVs are serviced regularly, this minority must be identified and appropriate disciplinary action distributed for those operators and companies that place too much emphasis on productivity over safety.
What happens during Brake Safety Week?
The primary form of testing during Brake Safety Week will be the 37-step procedure known as the North American Standard Level I Inspection. Drivers, as well as the vehicles, will be scrutinized as this form of testing includes driver's license review, skill performance evaluation, certificate evaluation and a driver's record of duty review, according to the CVSA.
However, given the emphasis on brake safety, these systems will see, arguably, the most thorough testing. Operators can expect to have each brake system component tested for loose or missing hardware. The system will also be checked for leaks and whether the linings, pads, drums or rotors are worn. With so much data signaling out brake systems as the main priority for CMV concern, drivers should not be surprised if this part of the examination takes the longest.
In addition to the universal Level I Inspection, a dozen inspection areas will also put the CMVs through performance-based brake testing to further ensure the brake systems are operating efficiently and consistently.
So long as brake system deficiencies continue to cost lives and money, CMV operators should expect continued annual grilling by the CVSA. The organization has even begun to implement surprise inspection days to promote regular brake system maintenance behavior. For the safety of all on the road, CMV operators are encouraged to participate in this test.
When manufacturers begin designing a new braking system, testing is an essential step in getting it ready for production. To navigate the complex world of safe component manufacturing, companies can request a complimentary brake testing consultation from Greening.