The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) recently released its results from its 2012 Operation Air Brake/Brake Safety Week program finding 15.3% of the trucks inspected had severe enough brake maintenance problems to pull them out of service until the necessary repairs were made. This number was up from 2011 when 14.5% of the trucks inspected were put out of service due to severe brake maintenance problems and 2010 which saw 13.5% of trucks inspected pulled out of service.
Throughout the 2012 Brake Safety week, the CVSA inspected over 21,000 trucks throughout the United States and Canada. This process includes inspecting the driver’s license, the registration of the vehicle, the low air warning device, the pushrod travel (adjustment), the brake linings/drums, the air loss rate (if a leak was detected), and the tractor protection system. If a truck is found to have brake-related defects, the truck is then placed out of service until these defects are repaired.
Every year, numerous highway crashes are caused, in part, due to faulty braking systems on commercial vehicles. The stopping distance for trucks or other commercial vehicles is affected when they have faulty braking systems, including poorly adjusted or defective air brakes. Drivers of trucks operating their truck with brakes out of adjustment or with defective air brakes put all those on the road at risk and increase the likelihood of crashes involving these vehicles.
While, according to the CVSA, it only takes a few minutes for a driver to adjust some air brakes and check for other brake-related defects, it has found that many drivers do not do so due to a lack of driver education and not having the commitment to safety. Clearly, there is a need for more enforcement and regulation of brake safety in commercial vehicles in the United States for the safety of everyone on the road. The results from the CVSA program indicate a need for increased driver education and increased inspections to ensure the safety of the public on our roadways and that these dangerous commercial vehicles are taken out of service.
The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) is an international not-for-profit organization comprised of local, state, provincial, territorial, and federal motor carrier safety officials and industry representatives from the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Its mission is to promote commercial motor vehicle safety and security by providing leadership to enforcement, industry, and policymakers. Programs such as the Operation Air Brake/Brake Safety week are important programs as they help promote safety on our roadways and shed light on the dangers that commercial vehicles pose when they are not properly maintained.