Brake Safety Week

Brake Safety Week, September 16-22, 2018, will bring an increase in truck inspections that focus on brake violations, according to the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA).  The majority of inspections during this week will be full, Level 1 inspections, which is the most comprehensive roadside inspection.

Inspectors will focus on brake components, such as loose or missing parts; air or hydraulic fluid leaks; defective rotor conditions; measurement of pushrod travel; mismatched air chamber sizes across axles; air reservoir integrity and mounting; worn linings, pads, drums or rotors; required brake-system warning devices; and other brake-system components.  Vehicles with defective or out-of-adjustment brakes will be placed out of service, warns the CVSA.

This intensified review of braking systems is a good reminder for all ICD Freight drivers to conduct a thorough check of the brakes on their tractors and trailers.  Any vehicle operating under ICD Freight authority should have a 90-day inspection by a mechanic completed during the month of August.  If you have not gotten this done, get to a certified mechanic and make sure they are conducting a thorough brake inspection, as well as checking all other required equipment checks.  If defects are found, get the necessary repairs before getting on the road again.

A fully loaded tractor-trailer traveling under ideal conditions at a speed of 65 mph will take 525 feet to stop (almost two football fields).  In comparison to a passenger vehicle, the tractor-trailer takes almost twice the distance to stop.  Stopping distance takes into account 3 key factors:

  • Perception distance – how far a vehicle travels while a driver is identifying, predicting and deciding to slow down for a hazard.
  • Reaction time – time it takes for a driver to perform a decision once the danger is recognized.
  • Braking distance – the distance traveled from the time a driver begins pressing the brake pedal until the vehicle comes to a stop.

Air brakes have become the standard equipment for semi-trucks and trailers and have a very high safety record.  Improvements in technology and increased fail-safe features, such as automatic slack adjusters, air tank reservoirs, pressure protection valves and warning signals, have made the modern air brake systems solid and consistently safe from failing.  According to a study conducted by AAA Foundation for Safety, air brakes can prevent up to 2,411 crashes and 37 deaths per year.

Your continued attention to safe driving behaviors, as well as maintaining your equipment can have a significant impact on your health and safety on the road and on those sharing the road with you. Be safe and be prepared for brake blitz week.

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