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Is your fleet ready for Brake Safety Week 2023? Prepare Your Fleet and Ensure Maximum Safety on the Road

Posted by Matthew Wiedmeyer, CTP on 8/21/23 8:49 AM
Matthew Wiedmeyer, CTP

CVSAThe most crucial component of a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) is its brakes, which must always operate properly to ensure safety. Brake Safety Week, which runs from August 20 -26, 2023 is sponsored by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) in partnership with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). This annual campaign was established to improve CMV brake safety and awareness in North America. During this campaign, CMV inspectors focus on conducting roadside brake system inspections to identify any out-of-adjustment brakes and violations.

The significance of Brake Safety Week arises from the fact that brake-related violations make up the largest percentage of out-of-service vehicle violations during roadside inspections. Improperly installed or maintained brake systems can lead to reduced braking capacity and stopping distance, posing severe risks to drivers and the public.

Last year's Brake Safety Week campaign highlighted brake hose chaffing and this year, the focus will be on Brake Linings and Pads. On April 29 of this year, an unannounced one-day brake safety check took place in Canada, Mexico, and the U.S. During that blitz, 6,829 CMVs were inspected resulting in 773 of the vehicles being taken out of service. Of those vehicles taken out of service,195 were for lining and pad violations.

Preparing for the inspection, drivers should conduct thorough pre and post-trip inspections, paying attention to all visible portions of brake pads and linings. Maintenance departments should inspect for missing linings, check drum clearance, and be vigilant for signs of rust jacking, cracks, and voids in the lining.

Defective or out-of-adjustment brakes will result in the vehicle being placed out of service and subsequent violation.

How to prepare ahead of the inspection:

  • Ensure drivers conduct thorough pre and post-trip inspections by looking at ALL visible portions of the brake pads and linings.
  • When looking at brake drums and rotors, bluing and signs of crazing together are indicators that they were heated up and may need to be replaced.
  • Look for signs of contamination such as hub oil or grease; if this occurs, the unit needs to be removed from service immediately.

For the Maintenance department during PM inspections:

  • BrakesLook for signs of missing linings, from rivets pushing through and scoring the drum.
  • Check the clearance on the drum or rotor, and ensure there is adequate lining on the brake shoe or pad.
  • Look for signs of rust jacking, cracks, and visible voids in the lining.
  • On disc brakes, heavily rusted rotors may indicate metal-to-metal contact between the caliper and rotor.
  • Remember to make sure any repairs follow the manufacturers’ guidelines and recommended practices.

Addressing out-of-adjustment brakes and brake system violations is crucial, representing a significant portion of all out-of-service violations issued to CMVs. By ensuring proper installation, inspection, and maintenance of brake systems, you can enhance CMV safety and contribute to reducing the number of highway crashes.

Click here for more information on Brake Safety Week: August 20 -26, 2023!

Topics: Fleet Safety