This week, September 11-17, has been declared Brake Safety Week by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA). Law enforcement agencies across the United States and Canada will be performing brake inspections on commercial trucks in an effort to identify anti-lock braking system violations and other potentially dangerous brake problems.

Brake Safety Week has been hugely successful in past years— in 2015, the CVSA conducted inspections on 18,817 vehicles. These inspections have identified air and hydraulic fuel leaks, worn and loose parts, and other faults in brake systems. Vehicles with brakes that are found defective or out-of-adjustment will be put OOS (out of service). Last year, 2,321 trucks were placed OOS during Brake Safety Week.

While these inspections are intended to promote safety and awareness, they can put quite a strain on fleets and truckers who don’t know what to expect. You can minimize the stress and uncertainty of a brake safety inspection by knowing what’s in store during Brake Safety Week 2016:

PBBT Tests

Inspectors will be using Performance-Based Brake Testers (PBBT) during their Brake Safety Week inspections. These testers assess the braking ability of a vehicle by taking a series of measurements to determine the braking force of any type of brake. According to the CVSA, 10 jurisdictions are currently using PBBT equipment, so Brake Safety Week inspections in these jurisdictions may very well involve PBBT tests.

Inspection Procedure

According to the CVSA, the Operation Airbrake Inspection Procedure involves the following:

Inspection Items

Driver’s license
Low air warning device
Pushrod travel (adjustment)
Brake linings/drums
Air loss rate (if leak detected)
Tractor protection system

Having all the necessary items in an easily accessible location is key to making sure the inspection goes as smoothly as possible.

Operation Air Brake Inspection Procedure

Step 1: Choose the inspection site

Step 2: 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.)

Brake Safety Week is about safety and awareness, but some inspections can be more nerve-wracking than reassuring for many drivers. Knowing what to expect and being prepared for an inspection at all times will go a long way towards keeping your fleet and drivers on track this week.