Starting this Sunday, September 11th to Saturday, September 17th, CMV inspectors will be out across North America conducting brake system inspections as part of the CVSA’s Operation Air Brake Safety Week. It is a partnership with the FMCSA and sees Level IV inspections happening on trucks and buses throughout North America to identify out-of-adjustment brakes, and brake-system and anti-lock braking system (ABS) violations. Brake-related violations accounted or 43% of all out-of-service violations during 2015’s International Roadcheck Campaign.

Properly functioning brake systems are crucial to safe truck operations. CMV brakes are designed to hold up under tough conditions, but must be routinely inspected and maintained carefully and consistently so they operate and perform properly throughout the vehicle’s life. Improperly installed or poorly maintained brake systems can reduce braking efficiency and increase the stopping distance of trucks, which poses serious risks to driver and public safety.

What are inspectors looking for?

Many inspectors will be conducting Level I Inspections, and in the 10 jurisdictions currently using performance-based brake testing (PBBT) equipment, vehicle braking efficiency will be measured. These systems include a slow speed roller dynamometer that measures total vehicle weight and total brake force from which braking efficiency is determined. The minimum braking efficiency for trucks is 43.5 percent, required by U.S. federal regulation and the CVSA out-of-service criteria.

Brake inspections will include assessments of brake-system components to identify loose or missing parts, air or hydraulic fluid leaks, worn linings, pads, drums or rotors. Antilock braking systems (ABS) malfunction indicator lamps will also be checked. Inspectors will also measure pushrod stroke when appropriate. Here’s the full process that will happen with each inspection:

Items to be inspected:

  • Driver License
  • Registration
  • Low Air Warning Device
  • Pushrod Travel (adjustment)
  • Brake Linings/Drums
  • Air Loss Rate (if a leak detected)
  • Tractor Protection System

Operation Air Brake Inspection Steps:

  • Step 1: Choose the inspection site
  • Step 2: Review safety considerations
  • Step 3: Check air brake mechanical components
  • Step 4: Check steering axle air brake mechanical components
  • Step 5: Check brake adjustment
  • Step 6: Build the air pressure to 90-100 PSI
  • Step 7: Check the air brake ABS system (if applicable)
  • Step 8: Test air loss rate
  • Step 9: Test low air pressure warning device
  • Step 10: Check the tractor protection system
  • Step 11: Finalize paperwork, and provide the results to the driver (i.e. out-of-service, etc.)

In 2015, 18,817 vehicles were inspected during Brake Safety Week (View the 2015 results). This year, a similar number of brake inspections are expected to be conducted.

Need more information to prepare for next week? The CVSA has created various resources and educational materials for drivers, mechanics, and industry stakeholders.

Keep those brake systems in check; Make sure you and your truck are prepared for next week!

Attention Carriers: Next Week is Brake Safety Week was last modified: by