Brake Safety Week & Operation Airbrake 2020

By: Tom Bray

Publication: Transportation Safety Management Today

Date Posted: 08/20/2020

Annual brake safety event August 23-29, 2020

This year, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA), will be conducting its annual brake safety event August 23-29. During this event, motor carrier inspectors will be concentrating on conducting vehicle inspections in an effort to locate vehicles with brake problems. In addition, the inspectors will be conducting outreach to educate drivers, mechanics, and others on the importance of brake maintenance and performance.

Give the driver a good vehicle to start with

It’s important to remember two key points about air brake systems.

First, brake problems do not develop “overnight.” As an example, two of the most common brake problems — a brake out of adjustment and a brake line that has been damaged from rubbing — both take time to develop.

Second, brake systems are very complicated and require more attention than just driver inspections.

Therefore, preventing violations involves doing preventive maintenance often enough that problems are spotted by technicians and corrected before they create a violation.

Make sure drivers are doing their inspections correctly

Once you have provided the driver with a vehicle that has a good brake system, the next step is making sure the driver knows how to inspect it. However, you need to do some groundwork in this area.

The first decision you need to make is what do you want your drivers checking. Do you want your drivers crawling under the truck and checking brake adjustment, brake lining thickness, and other “at the wheel” components? Or are you going to leave the “under the vehicle” components to the technicians, and have the drivers doing only visual inspections? Once you decide what you want them doing, train them on it (and adjust your maintenance schedule and practices to match).

When training drivers on vehicle inspections, concentrate of the brake system. You need to train your drivers on how it works, what the various components should look like (and what a defect looks like), and how to conduct system checks (leaks, alarm, button pop-out, ABS key-on, etc.).

There is still time to get your vehicles in for a maintenance inspection and remind your drivers
to tighten up their inspections before Brake Safety Week kicks off.

The consequences of poor maintenance and driver inspections

If your technicians and drivers are not inspecting the brakes, the officers trained by CVSA will hopefully find what’s wrong with the brakes. Why “hopefully”? The alternative is finding out that the brakes were not working correctly after a crash that could have otherwise been prevented.

Key to remember: Having vehicles with good brake systems requires an effective preventive maintenance program and drivers who do their daily inspections (including brake systems) without fail.

About the author
Tom Bray - Transportation Editor

Tom has been with J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc. since 2005. He brought with him an extensive background that includes years of experience in DOT compliance, policy development, driver human resources, driver training, training program development, CDL testing, claims management, and accident and injury prevention.

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