How to Avoid Violations During CVSA Brake Safety Week
CVSA Brake Safety Week
When it comes to truck safety, pre-trip inspections and scheduled maintenance are critical in diagnosing and fixing potential problems that could later lead to a collision. With critical components like brakes, what appear to be minor issues – like brake lining thickness being off by a couple of millimeters from acceptable width – can be the difference between being able to stop or catastrophe.
The health of your brakes isn’t something that should be taken lightly. All too often we hear in the news about a runaway truck that lost control due to brake failure, yet this component continues to be cited with the most out-of-service (OOS) violations out of all critical vehicle components during roadside inspections. Brake failure is also among the leading causes for collisions that result in fatality.
This is why the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) dedicates an entire week each year to increase awareness about the importance of brake components and to hold those operating vehicles with brakes in poor condition accountable.
CVSA’s Brake Safety Week is intended to be a reminder to drivers and fleets to properly maintain their truck’s brakes so that they’re in good condition. Through this safety event, law enforcement officers throughout North America inspect thousands of commercial vehicles. But, even with the advance notice the CVSA puts out regarding when Brake Safety Week will be each year and the fact additional law enforcement will be out inspecting this critical component, you’d be surprised at how many drivers are cited with brake OOS violations.
What Are Inspectors Looking For?
During Brake Safety Week, law enforcement will conduct level I and V inspections, where they will capture and report brake-related data to CVSA. Inspectors will be looking for:
- Worn linings, pads, drums, or rotors
- Air or hydraulic fluid leaks
- Mismatched air chamber sizes across axles
- Loose, non-functioning, or missing parts
- Malfunctioning brake-system warning devices
- Brake hose/tubing chafing
- Proper brake adjustment
In addition to examining brakes, law enforcement will check driver qualifications, documentation, and other vehicle components.
So, What Can You Do About It?
A good first line of defense is to ensure your drivers are regularly performing pre-trip inspections and have an organized method for keeping paperwork and HOS. Next, it is crucial to ensure that your trucks are on a preventative maintenance schedule and that maintenance is performed as soon as any issue comes up. That said, it’s never a bad idea to double-check your vehicles’ brakes and other critical components before the Brake Safety Week as an extra precaution to ensure your vehicles pass with flying colors.
If it’s been a while since you or your drivers have reviewed what the various inspection levels are and what inspectors will be looking or asking for, take a look at CVSA’s inspection guide as a refresher.
A thorough inspection of all brakes should be performed in advance of Brake Safety Week, with enough time in between to send a truck in for maintenance if any areas of concern are found. For tips on what to look for when doing a brake inspection, plus other things to consider for Brake Safety Week, check out our previous blog on brake safety.
Don’t Become a Negative Statistic
Knowing that pull-ins are going to be more frequent during this week, having a prepared driver and fleet is an opportunity to improve your CSA score. If the driver passes without receiving a critical vehicle inspection violation, they’ll receive a CVSA decal, meaning that the vehicle will not be re-inspected during the three-month period for which the decal is valid.
Even if your drivers think their vehicle are in good condition, they shouldn’t be overly confident unless they can confirm that confidence with their own inspection. More than 10% of vehicles inspected during Brake Safety Week are pulled from the road due to OOS violations each year. If the vehicle fails to meet the OOS criteria to pass, it will be placed OOS until the identified problem(s) has been corrected.
At the end of the day, inspectors want to focus their attention on vehicles and drivers that truly need to be looked at closely. Unsafe brakes make for unsafe roadways, and catching these problems early can make the difference for drivers of all varieties.
Today, many folks know how important it is to maintain good CSA scores and how they help a company’s profitability. Not only do solid CSA scores help in working with insurance providers to get better rates, but they can also go a long way in helping to maintain a good reputation among customers as a safe carrier. They also help reduce the number of times trucks are selected for roadside inspections, which in turn can improve a truck’s bypass rate for those using a weigh station bypass service provider.
For fleets using Drivewyze PreClear weigh station bypass service to reduce the number of times trucks spend in and around weigh stations, the better the CSA score attached to the truck, the more bypass opportunities the driver of that vehicle can receive. Drivers that receive weigh station opportunities save on average 5 minutes per stop when bypassing weigh stations, and this figure can be as high as 45 minutes if they are pulled in for an inspection. The more bypass opportunities a truck can receive greatly impacts your bottom line. In fact, many Drivewyze customers subscribed to PreClear are saving thousands of dollars in fuel expenses and other operating expenses correlated with time spent idling at weigh stations each year.
Maintaining brakes and other critical truck components is important for keeping our roadways safe. Not only is it good for the general public, but it’s also good for business.