This week, September 8th through the 14th, is International Brake Safety Week - an annual week-long effort by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) that promotes heightened awareness of proper brake maintenance through increased brake inspections and public outreach. They call this campaign "Operation Air Brake," and their goal is to reduce the number of highway crashes caused by faulty braking systems on commercial vehicles.
During Brake Safety Week 2013, roadside inspections by CVSA-certified inspectors are performed with special emphasis placed on braking systems. The items that are targeted for inspection are: driver's license, registration, low air warning device, pushrod travel (adjustment), brake linings/drums,leaks/air loss rate, and tractor protection system. To ensure brake safety and function, regular maintenance and pre-trip inspections should be performed. Bendix, a leading supplier of braking systems, offers an online Brake School with tips and advice for performing brake maintenance: www.brake-school.com
The goal of Operation Air Brake is to instruct and educate, not to enforce, and inspectors are encouraged to meet with drivers at truck stops where they can educate drivers on the inspection procedure and the operation of braking systems. The braking capacity for commercial vehicles is twice the distance as for passenger vehicles, and poorly maintained air brakes reduce that capacity even further. In a matter of a few minutes a driver can easily adjust air brakes equipped with manual slack adjusters and check for other brake-related defects, according to the CSVA. They believe that the primary causes for drivers not adjusting brakes is a lack of education and not having the proper commitment to safety, and hope that their Operation Air Brake is a solution. For more information about Operation Air Brake, visit the CVSA website.