Nearly 5,000 Commercial Motor Vehicles with Critical Brake Violations Removed from Roadways During Brake Safety Week

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November 6, 2018

During Brake Safety Week, Sept. 16-22, 2018, enforcement personnel in 57 jurisdictions throughout Canada and the United States conducted 35,080 inspections on commercial motor vehicles and captured and reported data on brake violations. The majority of vehicles inspected did not have any brake-related out-of-service conditions; however, inspectors found critical vehicle inspection items in the brake systems of 4,955 (14.1 percent) of the vehicles inspected and placed those vehicles out of service until the condition(s) could be corrected.

Brake violations were the top vehicle out-of-service violation during the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s (CVSA) International Roadcheck 72-hour enforcement initiative in June 2018. And according to the U.S. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) data (snapshot as of Sept. 28, 2018), out of 2.38 million inspections, there were 1,045,335 brake-related violations in federal fiscal 2018, with a portion of those accounting for seven of the top 20 vehicle violations. In an effort to address brake system violations, jurisdictions throughout North America participated in this year’s Brake Safety Week.

The goal of this week-long brake safety enforcement and outreach initiative is to reduce the number of crashes involving brake-related problems by raising awareness throughout the motor carrier community of the importance of properly functioning brake systems and by conducting roadside inspections to identify and remove vehicles with critical brake violations from our roadways.

Brake Safety Week data also captured antilock braking systems (ABS) violations, indicating how well ABS are maintained in accordance with federal regulations. ABS help the vehicle to stop in the shortest possible distance under many conditions and to maintain steering control in situations when tires may slip. Many participating jurisdictions surveyed ABS compliance. ABS violations were counted when the malfunction lamp did not illuminate or stayed on, indicating an issue of some kind. The findings are as follows:

  • 26,143 air-braked power units required ABS; 8.3 percent (2,176) had ABS violations.
  • 17,857 trailers required ABS; 12.5 percent (2,224) had ABS violations.
  • 5,354 hydraulic-braked trucks required ABS; 4.4 percent (234) had ABS violations.
  • 651 motorcoaches/buses required ABS; 2 percent (13) had ABS violations.

Brake Safety Week deployed several strategies to help make our roadways safer:

  • Prevention – Since the dates of Brake Safety Week are announced well in advance, it gives motor carriers and drivers ample opportunity to ensure their vehicles are proactively checked and properly maintained and any issues found are corrected. Everyone wants the vehicles that are inspected to pass inspection. A vehicle that passes inspection increases overall safety.
  • Education – Brake Safety Week is an opportunity for law enforcement personnel to educate drivers and motor carriers on the inspection procedure with a focus on the vehicle’s mechanical components, especially the brake systems. Education and awareness are key in prompting preventative action to ensure each commercial motor vehicle is safe and roadworthy.
  • Action – Inspectors who identified commercial motor vehicles with critical brake issues during the inspection process were able to remove those dangerous vehicles from our roadways. If a vehicle has brake-related critical inspection items, it’s law enforcement’s duty and responsibility to place that vehicle out of service, safeguarding the public.

“Whether you’re driving a commercial motor vehicle or inspecting one, we all know the importance of properly functioning brakes,” said CVSA President Lt. Scott Carnegie with the Mississippi Highway Patrol. “It is essential that we – law enforcement, drivers and motor carriers – do all that we can through prevention, education, outreach and action to ensure only the safest commercial motor vehicles are being operated by professional drivers on our roadways.”

Brake Safety Week is part of CVSA’s Operation Airbrake Program in partnership with FMCSA and the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators.