Safety is both the most important part of a drivers job and usually the most overlooked. Brake safety, specifically, is of the utmost importance because it can be a matter of life and death in far too many situations.
The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) Brake Safety Week is planned for September ninth through the fifteenth. The goal is to reduce the number of accidents resulting from improperly maintained or defective brake systems. The campaign will involve CVSA certified mechanics performing free brake inspections at certain roadside locations. The program’s primary concern are commercial vehicles in the United States and Canada, and is conducted in partnership with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). During Operation Air Brake, CVSA-certified inspectors are encouraged to meet with drivers at truckstops and other locations where drivers and mechanics frequent. These service people will conduct inspections of commercial vehicles to help educate drivers on different maintenance methods and brake system types. CVSA emphasizes that this is supposed to be an educational experience, not a law enforcement event. Mis-calibrated or defective air brakes reduce the braking potential for large vehicles, greatly shortening their stopping distance. This is a huge concern when five feet can make the difference between a fender bender and a vaporized vehicle. Under ideal conditions, the braking capacity of commercial vehicles is twice as far as that for cars and other smaller vehicles. This increases the risk to other users of the road and the driver (or his/her passengers) of the vehicle itself. 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. Professionals in the enforcement, regulatory and training business believe the main causes for drivers not adjusting brakes is a lack of education and not having the proper commitment to safety. A good number of drivers are trained to adjust brakes but simply choose not to adjust them, or are not certified to do so.
Please be safe when it comes to your vehicles braking system. Make sure to take advantage of this weekend, you can find the CVSA’s website here with plenty of additional information and locations to get free consultations.