After a tumultuous year, it’s time for carriers and drivers to pump their brakes

Carriers need to be prepared for the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) Brake Safety Week set for August 22-28. The Brake Safety Week arrives at the heels of the recently released results from May’s 72-hour 2021 International Roadcheck Week.

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Early New Hampshire results were an indicator of things to come

Just like in the Presidential primary elections, the early results from Roadcheck Week in New Hampshire can be an indicator of things to come at the national level.

The New Hampshire State Police conducted 356 commercial motor vehicle inspections throughout the state. The inspections found 709 violations — 125 (17.6%) were so severe the vehicle or its driver was placed out of service. The state’s out-of-service result was slightly higher than the national average of 14.7%.

A New Hampshire State Police spokesman said:

“In total, 56 vehicles were placed out of service for critical safety violations, while 29 drivers were placed out of service for violations including possessing drugs, possessing alcohol, driving while not physically qualified, failing to maintain record of driving hours, not holding the proper class of driver’s license, operating after suspension, and for continuing to drive after being declared out of service.”

The results of 2021 International Roadcheck 

More than 40,000 commercial motor vehicle inspections were conducted during International Roadcheck Week, CVSA’s annual high-volume, high-visibility inspection and enforcement initiative. During this time, CVSA-certified inspectors are posted at weigh stations and designated inspection sites in Canada, Mexico and the U.S.

Approximately 83.5% of the commercial motor vehicles examined during the three-day safety blitz had zero out-of-service (OOS) violations. However, inspectors did remove 6,710 commercial motor vehicles and 2,080 drivers from roadways. This amounts to 16.5% of vehicles and 5.3% of drivers discovered to have OOS violations.

The top five OOS violations were:

  • Brake system: 26.5%
  • Tires: 18.6%
  • Lights: 14.1%
  • Brake Adjustment: 12.4 %
  • Cargo Securement: 12.3%

Brake-related violations accounted for 38.9% of all vehicle OOS violations.

Adding more weight to the importance of next week’s Brake Safety Week are statistics from the most recent Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Large Truck Crash Causation Study. Some key findings of the study showed that:

  • “Vehicle Brake Problems” were a factor in 29% of truck crashes
  • “Brake Systems” was the third most cited vehicle-related factor in fatal commercial motor vehicle and passenger vehicle crashes.
  • Brake-related violations accounted for eight out of the top 20 vehicle violations in 2020

How should carriers and drivers prepare for Brake Safety Week?

The correct answer is that they shouldn’t. Brake safety is an everyday event, and trucks and trailers should have perfectly working brakes at all times. The CVSA shares the dates for Brake Safety Week in advance to remind motor carriers, drivers and commercial motor vehicle mechanics/technicians to proactively check and service their vehicles to ensure every commercial motor vehicle is safe, mechanically fit and compliant.

Despite this, last year’s Brake Safety Week resulted in 12% of the 43,565 inspected commercial motor vehicles being placed out of service for brake-related violations.

It’s been a busy year for truckload carriers, and it’s about to get even busier. So now is the time to ramp up your preventative maintenance schedule and make sure your drivers have all the stopping power they need.

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