Brake Safety Week Brings Truck Brakes Into Compliance with Safety Standards
Commercial vehicles are generally enormous—20 to 30 times the weight of the average passenger vehicle, in fact. These trucks and buses can do enormous damage in accidents with passenger cars and trucks, making it important that the driver be able to control them at all times. While brake safety is a critical component of vehicle control, the complex braking systems on large trucks and buses frequently escape inspection, resulting in serious accidents. One nonprofit group is seeking to address this issue with a week that draws attention to commercial vehicle brake safety.
Each year, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance holds Brake Safety Week. This organization, composed of representatives from state and local law enforcement as well as federal regulators, teams up with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration in spearheading this safety blitz. During this week, which was held this year on September 11-17, 2016, law enforcement officers inspect the brake systems on thousands of commercial vehicles to ensure that they are in safe working order. Drivers and carrier companies are supposed to check the brakes on their own vehicles on a regular basis, but these inspections do not always occur, nor do necessary repairs. After noticing a pattern of accidents involving brake failure on commercial vehicles, the CVSA began acting to reverse this trend. “[Commercial motor vehicle] brakes are designed to hold up under tough conditions, but they must be routinely inspected and maintained carefully and consistently so they operate and perform properly throughout the vehicle’s life,” the CVSA stated in a press release. “Improperly installed or poorly maintained brake systems can reduce braking efficiency and increase the stopping distance of trucks and buses, posing serious risks to driver and public safety.”
When law enforcement finds issues of serious concern in a vehicle’s brake system, such as worn or cracked drums or pads, or leaks in the hydraulic fluid transport system, the vehicles will be taken out of service immediately. Last year alone, law enforcement subjected over 18,800 commercial vehicles to an inspection during Brake Safety Week, taking over 2,300 vehicles off the road when they failed to pass their inspection.
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