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Posted August 14, 2017

brake safety


If there’s one piece of equipment that anyone driving a truck — or driving alongside a truck — wants to feel sure is in top working order it’s the brakes. The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance has been conducting annual brake safety events since 1998, as part of its Operation Airbrake program.

Now CVSA’s Brake Safety Day is coming up, September 7, with inspectors examining brake systems for:

  • Loose or missing parts
  • Air or hydraulic fluid leaks
  • Worn linings, pads, drums or rotors and other faulty components
  • ABS malfunction indicator lights

Drivers can expect to see their trucks get a Level 1 inspection, and in 10 jurisdictions that use performance-based brake testing (PBBT), braking efficiency will be tested. According to CVSA, PBBTs do this with “direct measurements of the brake forces at each wheel end, axle or for the entire vehicle.” The minimum braking efficiency is 43.5 percent. Any lower indicates that something is wrong with the brake, even if no violation is found.

On its Unannounced Brake Check Day, on May 3, 2017, inspectors looked at more than 9,500 commercial vehicles and placed 12 percent out of service for brake violations.

Some of the findings could be instructive for fleets preparing for the inspection blitz coming up. Inspectors were twice as likely to find violations with trailers that required anti-lock braking systems, and a fair number of ABS-equipped trucks had faulty or non-functioning indicator lights.

Since 1998, over 3.4 million brakes have been inspected across 33 U.S. states and 10 Canadian provinces/territories.