Slow down, Brake Safety Week is up ahead

Slow down, Brake Safety Week is up ahead

Ladies and gentlemen, before your start your engines today, make a note in your calendars for Brake Safety Week. The very healthy – and necessary – yearly reminder for fleet managers and drivers to ensure that their brakes are up to scratch.

The date? The event is going to take place on August 23-29. And we’re here to give you a heads-up in advance, so that you and your fleets are ready for it.

Just like Operation Safe Driver Week , which took place earlier this month, Brake Safety Week acts as a timely reminder for everyone. But especially those with commercial motor vehicles, that it’s vital to stay on top of brake maintenance; in order to prevent fleet accidents.

Let’s have a closer look at what this year’s Brake Safety Week will be about; and why it’s an important event on the motoring calendar.

What is Brake Safety Week?

Brake Safety Week began back in 1998 in Canada, spread to the United States, and is now an annual event. It’s part of the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s (CVSA) Operation Airbrake program – an initiative designed to reduce the number of crashes caused on highways due to faulty brake systems. Dedicated to improving commercial vehicle brake safety throughout North America, Brake Safety Week is organised in partnership with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, and the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators.

According to the CVSA, out-of-adjustment brakes and brake-system violations represent 50% of all out-of-service violations issued for commercial motor vehicles on the road. It goes without saying that checking brake systems should be one of the pillars of good fleet maintenance. Because, brake systems you — or your mechanic — may have installed improperly or maintained poorly, can reduce the braking capacity — and stopping distance — of trucks or buses. And this obviously poses serious safety risks.

Looking back at previous years, the CVSA reported that in 2018, almost 5,000 commercial motor vehicles with critical brake violations were removed from the road. And in last year’s edition of Brake Safety Week, 4,626 vehicles were withdrawn from service. That is, after critical brake-related conditions were identified. And that figure represents 13.5% of all vehicles inspected. No small number by anyone’s book.

All this points to the fact that, even in these modern times, businesses are still, inexplicably taking huge risks with their fleets; whether they are aware of it or not.

Be aware, be ready

The main and simple point for fleet owners and drivers during this period is to be aware of Brake Safety Week; and be ready for it. During the entire week, law enforcement officials will be inspecting vehicles across the country. Any vehicles found to have critical out-of-service brake violations, or other critical vehicle out-of-service inspection item violations, will be restricted from traveling; until you have corrected those violations. Those vehicles that pass eligible inspections will receive a special, ‘passed-inspection’ CVSA decal.

You probably don’t want any disruptions in your services; or any vehicles withdrawn. To that end, we advise all fleet managers and small business owners who run fleets to schedule a brake ‘health check’ at their in-house or outside auto repair shop, for all of their vehicles, ahead of time. If you have even the slightest concern that any of your vehicles may have an issue, don’t hesitate; get it checked out.

Make safety your top priority

With Brake Safety Week just under a month away, you still have time to get your fleets – and yourselves – ready. Faulty brake systems are something you can easily fix. But still, there will always be exceptions with unexpected faults, as well as rule-breakers.

The point is to stay vigilant. CVSA President, Sgt. John Samis with the Delaware State Police, tells the CVSA website:

“Despite the pandemic, commercial motor vehicle safety inspectors continue to prioritize vehicle and driver safety by conducting inspections every day.”

He adds:

“Safety is always our top priority. And it’s our mission to ensure the vehicles on our roadways have met all safety standards and regulations. This is especially important as we rally behind truck drivers as they transport essential goods during this public health crisis. We need to do everything we can to ensure that the vehicles truck drivers are driving are as safe as possible.”

Keep on keeping on, and be safe out there.

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