The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) performs several roadside inspections throughout the year that focus on different aspects of driver and vehicle safety. Most shippers are well aware of the widely publicized annual International Road Check in June. It is a mid-summer event that historically creates a noticeable squeeze on capacity, created by scores of carriers taking vacations or simply staying off the roads to avoid being stopped, fined, or put out of service.
Not so well-known, however, is CSVA’s Brake Safety Inspection Week, which is taking place right now, from September 15-21. The initiative began in 2000, and over time, has focused on four different aspects of brake systems and brake safety. Initially a one-day event, CVSA experimented with holding it a day in the spring and one in the fall. They later decided on a regularly scheduled time every September and in 2005, the event became a permanent week-long occurrence. Shippers should be aware that this may cause delays for their freight movement.
In 2017, the road checks revealed that 14% of the vehicles inspected were cited with issues and placed out of service. Last year the road checks produced almost 5,000 (4,955 to be exact, equaling 14.1%) commercial vehicles with brake-related critical issues. These carriers were also put out of service until the failures were corrected.
Brake Safety Week 2019 is half over, so the inspection results are not available yet. CSVA’s Director of Safety Programs, Will Schaefer, said, “We anticipate similar violation rates this year compared to last.” All commercial vehicles: trucks, buses, and vans have the potential to be stopped and checked throughout the rest of the week for brake systems, brake hoses, and tubing for signs of damage, leaking or dry-rotting components.
A driver’s ability to stop an 80,000-pound vehicle (which is the weight of a typical truckload freight shipment) moving down the road at a high rate of speed is an assumption made by most drivers of passenger vehicles, but it is sometimes a false supposition. It is road checks like these that can save lives preemptively before brake failures occur, and people’s lives are at stake.