Any trucker who has been on a downhill grade with a full load behind him will tell you how important brakes are for safety. And how important it is that they're in good working order to protect your safety and the safety of others on the road. But according to the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA), the rate of vehicles placed out-of-service (OOS), for 2011 because of brake issues has risen from last year after dropping from 2009 to 2010.
This issue was found during inspections held for Operation Air Brake’s recent “Brake Safety Week.” Brake Safety Week is a prominent event of the Operation Air Brake campaign, an ongoing, international effort dedicated to improving truck and bus brake safety throughout the US and Canada. According to the CVSA, for the second year in a row, commercial vehicle inspectors conducted a record number of inspections, checking 30,872 vehicles.
They take the data gathered each year from across North America to provide a snapshot of the industry’s rate of compliance with safety and repairs. The data also highlights areas that need continued focus with regard to brake safety regulations and relevant maintenance practices.
This year, the inspectors found that although the number of OOS defects for both brake adjustment and brake components are down slightly, the overall OOS rate for brakes rose from 13.5% last year, to 14.2%. This rise is underscored by the fact that brakes were cited in 29.4 percent of crashes as an associate factor in the crash, according to the Large Crash Causation study conducted in 2006.
“Brakes continue to be the number one OOS defect and Brake Safety Week is a reminder of the critical importance they serve in the safe operation of commercial vehicles,” said Stephen A. Keppler, CVSA’s executive director. “The Operation Air Brake campaign remains the premier joint effort among federal, state, and local commercial vehicle enforcement and industry to promote commercial vehicle brake safety.”
Overall results of the inspections show:
30,872 vehicles were inspected in 2011. This exceeds the 2010 mark of 30,472 vehicles, the previous record since the program started in 1998.
2,605 (or 8.4%) of vehicles were placed OOS for brake adjustment, down from 8.9% in 2010 and 9.0% in 2009).
2,453 (or 7.9%) of vehicles were placed OOS for brake components, down slightly from 8.0% in 2010 and 9.2% in 2009.
4,385 (or 14.2%) of vehicles were placed OOS for brakes overall, up from 13.5% in 2010 but still lower than the 15.1% found in 2009.
The OOS rates for Canada were again significantly lower than in the U.S. for 2011. This year, 8.7% of vehicles inspected in the U.S. during Brake Safety Week were placed OOS for poor brake adjustment, compared to 3.7% in Canada. Inspections in Canada resulted in 7.3% of vehicles being placed out of service for brakes, compared to 4.4% in 2010.
I don’t know about you, but we think having 4,385 trucks and buses on the road with brakes considered bad enough to pull them out of service is far too many. And considering they cause nearly a third of accidents, brake maintenance should be a critical part of any fleet.
How often do you have the brakes serviced on your vehicles? Let me know in the comment box below.