More than 50 percent of commercial motor vehicle out-of-service violations cited during roadside inspections were for brake-related violations, according to Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance Roadcheck 2011 data – indicating much more education and awareness is needed to reduce the number of highway crashes caused each year by poorly maintained braking systems on commercial vehicles. CVSA is working with drivers, mechanics and others during the week of Sept. 11-17, Brake Safety Week, to enhance knowledge, regulatory compliance and performance of CMV braking systems.
“Ultimately, brakes are a major factor in being able to operate a commercial vehicle safely, yet they continue to be cited as one of the leading factors in crashes due to defects and improper maintenance and adjustment,” says Stephen Keppler, CVSA executive director. “One of the major goals of Brake Safety Week is to educate drivers, mechanics and others on the importance of proper adjustment, maintenance and operation to ensure every commercial vehicle is operating safely and, ultimately, to save lives.”
During Brake Safety Week, CVSA-certified inspectors, brake suppliers and industry partners conduct enforcement and education activities with drivers and mechanics at truckstops, weigh stations and other locations. This weeklong campaign is part of CVSA’s ongoing Operation Air Brake effort dedicated to improving inspection, compliance, maintenance and performance of commercial vehicle braking systems throughout North America. It is conducted with and supported in part by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
“FMCSA’s strong partnership with law enforcement nationwide is about raising the bar for safer trucks and buses,” says FMCSA Administrator Anne Ferro. “To do that, FMCSA proudly joins with our state law enforcement partners to conduct Brake Safety Week.”
In addition to conducting roadside inspections, enforcement will be deploying performance-based brake testers in several participating jurisdictions and at a number of inspection locations. During the course of this year, as part of Operation Air Brake, CVSA developed two portable brake adjustment demonstration models that have been used throughout the year at industry events to demonstrate and illustrate the importance of proper brake adjustment. There are many other educational components that are part of the Operation Air Brake Campaign, including a Web-based training program geared toward drivers and technicians, as well as instructional guides and handbooks.
The campaign exists principally to reduce the out-of-service rate for brake-related defects. This Selective Traffic Enforcement Program (STEP) model has been used successfully in other areas of traffic safety concerns – most notably seatbelt usage – and is being employed throughout North America. It was developed and initiated by Canada in 1998. To learn more about the campaign, go to www.operationairbrake.com.