CVSA Sets Brake Safety Awareness Week for Next Month

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance announced that this year’s Brake Safety Awareness Week is planned for August 26-September 1. The event is specifically dedicated to enhancing knowledge, regulatory compliance, and performance of commercial vehicle braking systems. Intended for all road users, the campaign is designed to spread education and awareness to improve commercial vehicle safety. This will be the tenth year for CVSA's annual focus.

Out-of-adjustment air brakes and brake system defects constitute the major defect areas resulting in commercial vehicles being placed out of service. Poorly adjusted or defective air brakes reduce braking capacity for large vehicles and further inhibit stopping distance. Under ideal conditions, the braking distance requirement 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 adjust air brakes equipped with manual slack adjusters and check for other brake-related defects. Professionals in the enforcement, regulatory and training business think that the primary causes for drivers not adjusting brakes are a lack of education and not having the proper commitment to safety. Many drivers are trained to adjust brakes but simply choose not to adjust them, or are not certified to do so.

Over the past few years there has not been a significant change in the rate of vehicles taken out of service for poor air brake adjustment or other brake related defects. Traditional enforcement methods, by themselves, are having a reasonable impact in helping to remove dangerous vehicles off the road. However, much more needs to be done, CVSA says.

For more information on Brake Safety Awareness Week or CVSA's more comprehensive campaign, called Operation Air Brake, contact Steve Keppler, CVSA director of policy and programs, at stevek@cvsa.org or by phone at 202-775-1623, ext. 106.

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